[WATCH] Free phone number to anonymously report social housing abuse

The government is now seeking the help of citizens to gather information on persons who abuse of social housing services

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Yannick Pace
7 September 2017, 12:25pm
Parliamentary Secretary for social housing, Roderick Galdes. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Parliamentary Secretary for social housing, Roderick Galdes. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Government launches free phone number to anonymously report social housing abuse
The government has launched a campaign to help it in its fight against social housing abuses.

Through a newly established initiative by the Ministry for Social Solidarity, members of the public will now be able to report cases of abuse anonymously. The initiative is called 'Social housing to those who really need it'.

"We want people in these housing estates to be the watchdogs of these abuses," said Galdes.

The parliamentary secretary explained that as the biggest administrator of social housing, the government was obliged to ensure that its property was being used to help those in need.

He said that currently, many people "abused of the situations and took the law into their own hands", adding that while the government had a "social conscience", it could not tolerate abuse.

Galdes said that the cases that would constitute abuse and that should be reported were instances where tenants of social housing were renting out property without the consent of the Housing Authority, the relocation of family members into a property after the death of the person it was granted to by the government, and cases were squatters had started occupying a property with the aim of securing its ownership.

According to Galdes, in 2016, the government had appropriated some 89 properties following inspections that found that they were not being used as intended.

Moreover, he said that the authority's enforcement unit had already been strengthened to tackle cases of abuse.

Addressing a Labour Party conference back in April, prime minister Joseph Muscat called an end to the entitlement mentality at the heart of such abuses. He also admitted however to being concerned by those who were not poor enough for social housing but who couldn't afford rates in the current property market.

Asked whether, without the necessary controls on the properly market, the move risked seeing people who did not qualify for social housing but who could also not afford rent, out in the streets, Galdes stressed that anyone who was entitled to housing would not be evicted, adding that, government had an obligation to help those most in need.

He added that in cases where people required help they could contact the authority and could reapply for social housing.

"We can't allow people to live in shelters while allowing others to abuse of government property," he said. 

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...