The Housing Parliamentary Secretariat should focus on improving the desperate public accommodation situation rather than “rubbishing” a woman who had just wound up sleeping on the street, the Federation of Estate Agents said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the federation said it had looked on aghast at the “public drubbing” given to a young mother who had just become homeless.
“This morning we woke up to be regaled with the full weight of officialdom publicly contradicting this homeless woman and rubbishing everything she has said. And this multiple times on the morning news broadcast of the national news station,” the federation said.
It was reacting to a news report on State broadcaster TVM that a young mother had ended up sleeping in her car with her two children and pet dog.
According to the broadcaster, complex social problems had resulted with this mother, who made €500-a-month, not making ends meet.
To make matters worse, she had been refused entry to public shelters for, among other reasons, having a pet.
“I've been running around with my children. I take them to the beach to use public showers. And, to escape the sun, I take them to shopping complexes. At night, we go to the beach and then sleep in the car,” the mother, identified as Jacqueline said.
I take them to the beach to use public showers. And, to escape the sun, I take them to shopping complexes
The broadcaster then ran another report quoting the Housing Parliamentary Secretariat denying that the woman had been refused a place to sleep at public shelter.
The Secretariat, headed by Roderick Galdes, went on to say that the woman had been offered temporary shelter but had refused it herself.
The federation said it was in extreme bad taste that such strong arm tactics were brought to bear against someone in such a sensitive situation.
“She is a victim, not a political opponent. It is not the job of any government department to abuse of the massive power of State incumbency to humiliate Maltese women who are continuously losing the roof over their heads and ending up with their children on the street,” the federation said.
It went on to say that the politician responsible for the sector would be better advised to “direct his opprobrium towards his superiors, in order to massively increase his department’s meagre budget and acquire a large amount to buildings to house the homeless Maltese”.
The number of homeless, the federation warned, was only going to increase, “and dramatically”.
“Prices of property, both rental and for sale in Malta, have now increased to beyond that which the average Maltese can afford,” the federation said.
This, it added, was due, in part, to the “sudden and massive influx of foreigners” that was not accompanied by adequate planning to ensure enough apartments were available to accommodate them.
“The Federation of Estate Agents has, for years, been warning that this was going to happen. And now it has happened,” it said.
Housing boards infiltrated by representatives of ‘those who drive Ferraris’
The federation also lamented that all the government boards set up to advise on the housing crisis had been infiltrated by multiple members of “that organisation whose leaders drive Ferraris” – a reference to the Malta Developers’ Association.
“The organisations that are sensitive to the plight of the Maltese being disposed of a roof over their head, have been covertly eliminated from these boards,” the federation said.
The voice of these Maltese becoming homeless, the federation said, was going unheard and unrepresented.
That this should be happening when the country was meant to be going through the best times of its economic history, was regrettable.
The federation said it had made comprehensive proposals to the government in a bid to address this problem.
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