A special benefit that has been offered to residents of the charming village of Fuggerei in the southern German state of Bavaria for more than five centuries is extraordinarily inexpensive housing.
The Fuggerei was built in 1520 by wealthy banker and merchant Jakob Fugger and is the world’s first communal housing complex. Since the Fuggerei’s inception, the rent has been constant.
For just one euro a year, Fuggerei residents can live in one of the 67 houses in the complex, which also includes a church and a garden.
The only requirement for applicants is that they must be Catholic and have lived in the area for at least two years prior to applying for a lease. They must also say three prayers each day to the Fugger family, who are still the complex’s owners.
The Fuggerei was established to provide access to affordable housing for the needy, and it still serves this purpose today. In actuality, many of the residents are elderly or disabled, the rent is so low, and the hamlet has a strong sense of community.