This terms refers to public financial assistance for the construction or rehabilitation of housing that will be rented out or used to encourage access to homeownership. It seeks to reduce rent levels or debt repayment levels in order to render certain groups more financially solvent.
It can take the form of subsidies or low-interest loans given to builders, public housing companies, or future homeowners. It can also take the form of fiscal advantages (i.e., reduced VAT rates). The advantages of “brick and mortar” assistance are: it encourages the long-term development of an important public asset, notably rental properties; it responds to the needs of the most vulnerable populations; and it allows the government to control construction policy and levels.
Source: Muleta definition (fr).