New social housing plan to utilise empty households

Minister launches request for proposals for sites covered with permits to develop social housing

File photo: Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (second from right) said the Housing Authority had to address a long waiting list
File photo: Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (second from right) said the Housing Authority had to address a long waiting list

The Housing Authority has launched a request for proposals for the development of social housing where sites are already covered by planning permits, in a bid to address the long waiting list for social housing which currently amounts to 3,300 applications.

Addressing the media, Social Solidarity Minister Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said that proposals will also be welcomed for the regeneration of current sites which fall under the Housing Authority's remit, and the identification of empty households to be used for social housing.

"We are looking for the private sector to come up with innovative ideas that will address the waiting list problem, but also offers affordable accommodation. We also intend to give the opportunity to young couples who are not in a position to buy property, to acquire these at an affordable price," Coleiro Preca said.

She underlined the difficulty of introducing innovation into a sector where the Housing Authority's coffers were already in the red.

"Innovative measures and creativity were not often used under the previous administration. The past government carelessly rented out 400 apartments at very high prices for 10 years. We are still paying around €300 per apartment on a monthly basis. Ensuring the Authority's sustainability is a must. We cannot be irresponsible in dealing with the taxpayers' money."

The minister remarked how the dire financial situation of the Housing Authority was also down to the lack of long-term planning and adequate policies. As a result, the new administration sought how to make the best possible use of the Authority’s assets and will now commence the implementation of a strategic review.

She said that her ministry was not only committed at providing adequate social housing, but also to tackle the root cause of the problem.

The request for proposals will be received until 21st February.

And what about those who have always been on Social Benefits and have a housing department apartment on their name, but have now moved to live somewhere else, and rented the apartment to their children or third parties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is there any chance of any ENFORCEMENT?????? Does the minister knows about these cases? Or they are always covered by some hidden hand?????
Jason Xuereb
The Minister complains that the Housing Authority is in the red while a good number of Government housing tenants have applied to buy their residence under the Sir Sid Darek Scheme and have not yet been called up to sign the contract of sale. Not only that, but the Authority does not even reply to inquiries about this Scheme. Is it still on or not? I am sure that the revenue generated by these sales could be utilized in new Social Housing Schemes.
Can we know how many of those apartments are in Marsalforn which were holiday apartments and where no one wants to go and live especially having to live there all year round amd to whom they belong (owners)?