Jakob Fugger gave an exact definition of who could be a beneficiary of his social housing complex. The residents of the Fuggerei were required to have Augsburg citizenship, to be Catholic and to be respectable. Residences were only to be given to needy individuals who sought to earn income, such as craftsmen who were threatened with poverty and day labourers with or without families. A private residence was provided so that needy citizens were not forced to beg or live in conspicuous poverty. Paupers or beggars were handled by other bodies, such as the government and the Church.
Not charity, assistance so others can help themselves
The rent: a Rheinish florin and daily prayer
The annual rent was a Rheinish florin, which was then approximately a week's wages for a craftsman. It was left this way over the centuries. Today, Fuggerei residents pay as base rent the conversion value of a florin – currently ca. 88 euro cents. In addition, residents are required to say one Our Father, one Ave Maria and the Apostles' Creed every day for the donors and their family. This is also still in practice today. The donors' wishes have been carefully observed over the centuries and applied to contemporary conditions. Today, needy individuals come from other backgrounds than those of 500 years ago. However, the core philosophy of »ssistance so others can help themselves« is still in the foreground: The inexpensive rent is meant to allow today's Fuggerei residents an opportunity to achieve economic recovery. The concept is to provide support for people who are actively seeking solutions to (once again) stand on their own two feet. The modern Fuggerei thus helps to relieve the city of its welfare obligations.
Carved in stone – the Foundation mission
In the Fuggerei, there are to this day three donors' plaques that inform visitors of the Foundation's mission. Named as benefactors are the brothers Jakob, Ulrich and Georg Fugger who »out of piety and generous munificence grant, endow and devote 106 dwellings with all provisions to their diligent but indigent fellow citizens«.