Minister for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes announced that the number of persons on the social housing waiting list has decreased by almost half. Back in 2017, there were 3,288 people on the waiting list, today it has decreased by more than 42% to 1,900 people.
This progress was registered before the commencement of the allocation of new social accommodation units.
“The holistic housing system we created is bearing fruit and achieving progress”, claimed Minister Roderick Galdes, who also explained that the wide range of services provided by the Housing Authority is helping people move forward.
The minister said that prevention was the most influential factor behind the decrease in the number of people on this waiting list. In fact, in comparison to the 580 new applications received in the year 2017, there were only 238 new applications in 2020.
The minister said that this means we have provided sufficiently effective services which have prevented families from becoming dependent on the state.
Among the initiatives taken there is the strengthening of the rent benefit, which is improving the situation of 2,900 families living in rented accommodation by ensuring that they do not pay more than a quarter of their income on rent, while there are over 800 homes that have been repaired and more than 500 other homes which have been adapted to be more accessible to those facing mobility challenges as well as persons with disabilities.
As a result of social loans (also known as the ‘Home Assist’ scheme), approximately 160 families which were eligible for social accommodation have now become homeowners.
In the meantime, by the end of June, approximately 571 social housing units will be allocated from the existing stock, while another 240 solutions have been found through properties that the Housing Authority rents from private owners.
The construction of new social accommodation units alone is not the only solution for the government, and therefore the regeneration of vacant houses has been made a priority so that dozens of adequate housing solutions can be created in the heart of villages.
From his end, Housing Authority CEO Leonid McKay gave a clear picture of the wide range of services available which are meeting specific needs. He mentioned the study conducted among the applicants to have a detailed understanding of their challenges and aspirations. This study was instrumental in designing specialised solutions that in his words not only provided support but also enhanced social mobility.
CEO Leonid McKay also said that enforcement against the abuse of social housing has been strengthened and has led to several houses being recovered. In addition to enforcement, there is constant monitoring of both applicants and beneficiaries to ensure compliance.
Minister Roderick Galdes concluded by saying that he is determined to see the number of people asking for help continue to decline. “Through a series of initiatives, we created a housing system which is achieving progress by offering a vast selection of adequate accommodation solutions for all”, said the minister.