[WATCH] First social housing units to be available in two years’ time

Housing Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes refutes suggestion that social housing is Labour government’s biggest failing and says €110 million investment to build 1,200 units is largest since the 1970s

Excavation works are underway in Bormla on a site where 68 social housing units will be built. The building left standing will be restored as part of the project.
Excavation works are underway in Bormla on a site where 68 social housing units will be built. The building left standing will be restored as part of the project.
Roderick Galdes reacts to suggestion that Labour government has failed on social housing

The first social housing units built by the State will be available in two years’ time, Roderick Galdes said when visiting excavation works in Bormla. 

The Housing Parliamentary Secretary refuted suggestions that the provision of social housing was the Labour government’s biggest failing.

He said the current spate of construction of social housing units was the first drive in 15 years and the level of investment, the highest since the 1970s.

“When we came to government in 2013 we found a country drowning in debt, with a housing authority short of money and a situation where no social housing units had been built in the previous 15 years,” Galdes responded.

The government has budgeted €110 million to build social housing units in various localities with funds coming from various sources, including the European Investment Bank and the Individual Investor Programme.

“The level of investment is the highest since Mintoff’s governments in the 1970s when housing estates were built around the island,” Galdes insisted.

The Labour government has faced internal criticism for not building social housing units to address a lengthy waiting list. There are some 3,200 people waiting for social housing, with Galdes saying that 70% of them were separated individuals.

The first mention of social housing came in 2015 when €50 million were voted for various projects but progress has been slow, prompting criticism that this was not a priority. During the Workers’ Day mass meeting this year, then, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced a further investment of €50 million from funds coming from the passport scheme.

The government plans will eventually see 1,200 units being built over the coming years.

The Bormla site sprawls over 3,000sq.m and will include a childcare facility and a community centre
The Bormla site sprawls over 3,000sq.m and will include a childcare facility and a community centre

Galdes was in Bormla to visit excavation works on a 3,000sq.m site, where 68 social housing units will be built, alongside a childcare facility and a community centre. The project will transform what was previously an abandoned slum area.

Plans were changed to preserve a historic tunnel in the area and include 850sq.m of open space. The project will also include parking spaces for 110 cars.

Bormla mayor Alison Zerafa Civelli said the project will give the area, just off the bastions, a breath of fresh air.

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