New Injection in Social Accommodation
Yesterday morning, the Government of Malta announced an investment of €50 million in social accommodation that will translate in 500 properties situated in 22 localities in Malta and Gozo. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Social Development Fund (NSDF) and the Housing Authority. The funds to build the 500 new social housing units will be made available from the NSDF which received its money from the Citizen by Investment Scheme, which stipulates that 70% of the application fee of €650,000 is injected in this prosperity fund.
The project, announced last May, will see the development of blocks consisting of one, two and three bedroom properties in a number of localities such as Qrendi, Siggiewi, Mellieha, Rabat, and Qormi. Parliamentary Secretary for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes, who was present for the signing of the MoU, explained that this increase of social housing units will complement the building of another 680 dwellings for which excavation works have already been completed.
Addressing a press conference, the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat hailed this investment as the largest Malta has ever seen in this sector and explained that the ultimate goal is to provide its beneficiaries a stepping stone for social mobility. Dr Muscat also explained that the decision to spread the units across different localities was intended for achieving integration as opposed to segregating social accommodation to one area. Referring to the white paper on rents, the Prime Minister said that a balance should be sought between property investors and the younger generation who often need to take out 40-year loans.
Leonid Mckay, representing the Housing Authority, said that from a study conducted by his department, 68% of the respondents who require social accommodation had at least one child depended on them. He further mentioned that reasons that lead to the need of social housing may vary from sickness, disability to the elderly who could not afford their own property.
This news comes a week after the Government also announced that housing benefits on privately owned properties will double and will see, for example, a single person earning up to €14,700 (annual income) receive a maximum of €3,600 to alleviate the pressure of rent bills. Government ministers explained that both measures are intended to improve the quality of life of the people living in Malta.
Photo Credit - The Times of Malta