Regional Affairs Minister Siim Kiisler said the government is planning a program for the new EU financing period that aims to move residents out of half-empty and deteriorating apartment blocks into better-preserved and more populated buildings.
The program would focus on towns in Ida-Viru County, the industrial and aging northeast where infrastructure still dates back to the Soviet era, reported Eesti Päevaleht.
The government's plan would work through local governments, funding them to help people exchange apartments and to demolish the abandoned ones.
Kiisler said it is too early to give any figures on the number of people who could possibly be affected and how much the project would cost. He said the towns of Kohtla-Järve and Kiviõli have already expressed interest in the program.
"Such a program presumes a discussion with all of the apartment owners, so that they understand that by simply giving up their apartment or receiving small compensation in return they will free themselves of expenses, because some of these apartments may indeed already have negative value,“ Kiisler said.
"Reaching an agreement is generally not easy, but this way it is possible to form two or three dwellings into a single one that is alive.“