Deputy Mayor of Debrecen, Diána Széles presented the 2024 budget for the city’s social affairs on 19th of February 2024.

The deputy mayor said that the city plans to spend a total of HUF 14.6 billion on the maintenance of health, social and public education institutions (Debrecen Institute for Primary Care and Health Development, DMJV Municipal Social Service, DMJV Family and Child Welfare Centre, day nurseries, kindergartens), on supporting their programmes (Move, Debrecen!) and on social services. This is an increase of 18.7 percent compared to last year.

While institutional wages in the city’s care institutions totalled HUF 10.4 billion in 2023, the 2024 budget plans to spend HUF 13.2 billion on institutional wages. This means that the wage increase for nursery staff will be between 17 and 32 percent, while in social institutions it will be 17 percent compared to the November 2023 salaries.

Social grants

She stressed that in this year’s budget, the amount allocated to social benefits is expected to increase from HUF 376 million in 2023 to HUF 420 million, an increase of 11.7 percent.

The planned subsidies are as follows:

  • HUF 10,800 for a housing maintenance allowance for a household of several persons; HUF 12,000 for a single person living alone);
  • support for firewood – 25 quintals,
  • debt reduction allowance up to HUF 225,000 (scaled according to income);
  • periodic cash assistance (ranging from a minimum of HUF 4,000 to a maximum of HUF 100,000 for 2-6 months);
  • ad hoc cash assistance (from a minimum of HUF 5,000 up to a maximum of HUF 150,000 – except in the case of fire, when up to HUF 500,000 can be applied for);
  • funeral allowance (up to 30% of the costs, depending on income, up to a maximum of HUF 139,000);
  • “kelengye” allowance (increased from HUF 36,000 to HUF 42,000);
  • school start-up allowance (increased from HUF 9,600 to HUF 11,100 per child);
  • medication allowance (HUF 28,500, which can be claimed up to 6 times a year)
  • public burial costs (a total of HUF 45 million is earmarked for this form of aid);
  • subsidies for public waste management services for persons over 70 years of age (up to the age of 70-75, on the basis of means-tested. Over 75 years, regardless of income – a total of HUF 152 million is planned for this purpose);
  • free use of the Nagyerdei Spa or the Kerekestelepi Strandbad 5 times on request for persons over 65 years of age (a total of HUF 51 million is planned for this purpose);
  • a grant for the mother of a child born on Debrecen City Day (HUF 150 000 one-off grant);
  • a grant for a person aged 101 or over (can be applied for officially, as many times as the age of the person receives a grant of HUF 1 000 for each birthday);
  • social rent subsidy (depending on income, application to the Social Welfare Department and then attached to the application to the Cívis Ház).
  • Investments

For the Municipal Social Services, the budget foresees HUF 60 million for the continuation of the modernisation of the old people’s home on Pallagi Road. In the Postakert district, the Zelemér street nursery is expected to be handed over in autumn 2024 – an investment of HUF 1.2 billion. The municipality is expected to spend HUF 60 million on the repair and improvement of playground equipment for kindergartens and nurseries. The following general practitioners’ offices will be renovated: 45 Thomas Mann u. (HUF 86 million), Nagymacs (HUF 74.3 million), and the renovation of the Angyalföld Square medical practice (HUF 25 million). 10 million is budgeted for the accessibility of GP offices.

HUF 144 million is included in the draft budget for other operational tasks of municipal institutions and HUF 312 million for minor investments in municipal institutions. The construction of the running track in Józa (HUF 102 million), the construction of the new premises of the Family and Child Welfare Centre at 29 Mátyás király Street (HUF 23.2 million), the construction of the dining hall of the Gönczy Pál Street School (HUF 12 million), the renovation of the Csapókerti Primary School (HUF 20 million) and the construction of the gymnasium of the Epreskerti Primary School (HUF 1 billion – of which HUF 450 million is municipal self-financing) are in progress. The deputy mayor also said that the renovation of the Margit Square swimming pool, which will be carried out by Debrecen Asset Management Company in its own investment, is of particular importance to her. Diána Széles also attaches great importance to the development of public spaces for the well-being of the city’s citizens: the playground development programme (HUF 120 million), the design of the Tócóvölgy recreation park (HUF 50 million), the development of the Vezér Street lake (HUF 30 million) and the Szent István Park (HUF 10 million).

Support for NGOs and young talent

Support for NGOs providing social and child welfare services under a service contract will increase from HUF 26,500,000 last year to HUF 38,500,000 this year. A total of HUF 47.6 million will be available in the Civil, Youth and Cultural Fund, HUF 4 million for the Cívis Talentum scholarship, HUF 20.6 million for the Béla Békessy sports scholarship, HUF 15 million for the Bursa Hungarica scholarship, HUF 7.4 million for supporting student sports activities, and HUF 2 million for the Public Foundation for Talented Debrecen Youth.

DMJV Centre for Family and Child Welfare

In the framework of the press conference, the head of the Family and Child Welfare Centre of the DMJV, Aurélia Ibolya Orosz, presented the activities of the Centre, primarily from the point of view of child protection. From 1st January 2023, in addition to the Family and Child Welfare Centre and the Service units, the institution is also responsible for temporary care. This was a very good decision, according to her, because it allows them to provide more complex support to families. If a family finds itself in a situation where its housing is not available, they can be helped 24 hours a day in the framework of temporary care. The children’s temporary home is also managed by the institution, which has 9 places to help children in Debrecen if their situation at home becomes impossible, for example if a conflict within the family becomes unmanageable. A child can also ask to be placed in this home, a safe environment, in his or her own right. Aurélia Ibolya Orosz stressed that this also shows that they can deal with the situation of families facing problems in a complex way. In Debrecen, the signalling system works very well.

The Child Protection Act obliges public education institutions and health care providers to report any suspicions that a child or adult, such as an elderly person, is not being looked after properly to the Family and Child Welfare Centre, which will help the person concerned immediately. Through the signposting system, more and more reports are received every year, but this does not mean that the number of problems in Debrecen is increasing, but that all concerned have learned what to do with the signposting system and are reporting problems. This week, the centre is organising a conference on the functioning of the signposting system, which will focus on the issue of abuse. Aurélia Ibolya Orosz thanked all 178 of her colleagues for their dedicated and precise work, without which they would not be able to be in contact with so many families. They have been in contact with 3,254 children in the past year, which means 2,150 families. From 2018 they have also introduced social assistance in kindergartens and schools, which means that they are in contact with all public education institutions – kindergartens, schools – and this now means 38,400 children. Of these, 10,603 have benefited from the services of the centre in the past year. Including their special services, a total of 14,800 children have used their services. According to Aurélia Ibolya Orosz , the Family and Child Welfare Centre in Debrecen reaches out to everyone. They also have very good relations with NGOs and churches. This network of contacts has also helped them, for example, to contact every single person in the city who came into their sights before the winter set in, and they managed to save an elderly person from freezing to death. Such a tragic case did not happen this winter in Debrecen.

Csaba Papp, Director of the Debrecen Institute of Primary Care and Health Promotion (Deafi), gave a report on the results of the Institute’s school health screening centre in Pósa Street for the 2022/2023 school year, when 13,684 children were screened.

Health promotion activities

The health promotion activities of the “Caring City” include the programmes of the “Move, Debrecen!” movement (back exercises, yoga, zumba, refreshing gymnastics, heart-friendly thematic walk, community run). 1,544 programmes have been organised so far, with a total of 55,350 participants. It is significant that in 2023, the Move, Debrecen! Downtown Health Promotion Centre at Szent Anna Street 11., where a number of health promotion activities and health screenings are offered to the people of Debrecen who want to do something for their health.

Support for the Breast Milk Collection Station

Since 2014, the local government has been providing HUF 10 million a year to cover the operating costs of the Breast Milk Collection Station and to ensure the continuous provision of organised breast milk collection, and this will continue to be the case in 2024.

Tourism in Debrecen

Diána Széles, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen, also spoke about tourism issues related to the topic of the briefing. As she said, the number of nights spent in Debrecen by visitors to the city increased by 5.2% in 2023 compared to 2022. While ten years ago, in 2014, 29% of overnight visitors were foreign tourists, by 2023 this figure had risen to 48%. In 2024, the municipality expects to spend HUF 172.8 million on the professional tasks of VisitDebrecen. Tourist tax revenue increased by 17.9 percent in 2023 compared to 2022. The planned municipal revenue from this type of tax amounts to HUF 160 million in 2024.

Debrecen was the first city in the country to introduce a smart city card based on an e-personal identity card, of which there are currently nearly 24,500 in circulation. With the Debrecen City Card and the newly introduced Debrecen Junior City Card, children aged 6-14 attending kindergarten or school in Debrecen’s public educational institutions can use local transport free of charge from 1st of April 2024.

Source: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U