[WATCH] Housing market needs adaptable units for new family realities – expert

Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes opens consultation process for the creation of a national housing system

Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes addressing stakeholders in the first consultation meeting to create a national housing strategy (Photo: James Bianchi)
Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes addressing stakeholders in the first consultation meeting to create a national housing strategy (Photo: James Bianchi)

Housing units should be easily modifiable to adapt to new housing trends as a result of cultural changes, a leading UK expert has proposed.

Nicholas Pleace, a professor and director of York University’s Centre for Housing Policy, said a housing policy must accommodate new lifestyle choices such as people living alone and couples opting not to have children.

He was speaking at the first consultation exercise organised by the Housing Ministry to create a national housing system in Malta. More than 50 stakeholders took part in the meeting.

Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes said the pillars underlying the strategy were people, connectedness, digitalisation and sustainability. He said that people from all walks of life deserved to find shelter in adequate homes.

As part of the consultation process, the term household will be analysed to understand the cultural demands in Malta.

Pleace said that Malta could benefit from the construction of a mixture of private and affordable social housing in a system that would see part of the profits derived from such a system being used to subsidise social housing.

Such a system, he added, worked best in areas having high housing costs.

Asked by Galdes for advice regarding social housing in view of the increase in population as a result of foreign workers, Pleace highlighted the importance of a balance between housing for prospective foreign economic migrants and Maltese citizens.

Significantly, he said that should the local citizens be side-lined, negative political effects might ensue.

Asked about the Equity Sharing Scheme launched last May, Galdes said this scheme is still active and open to receiving applications and funding may be increased in next year’s Budget.

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