Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes occasionally takes it upon himself to inform housing applicants that their requests have been accepted, with Times of Malta informed the practice is more common with families in his constituency.
Sources have told Times of Malta that, in recent days, the minister phoned a family who had been on the waiting list to confirm their application had been accepted and they would soon be moved to social housing.
The family had not yet been formally notified of the decision by the Housing Authority.
According to the sources, the family votes in Galdes’s constituency. The minister is contesting the sixth and eighth districts in the March 26 general election.
The minister does reach out to individuals from time to time, especially when they opt to 'approach the minister directly through any means of communication'- spokesperson for Galdes
When contacted about the matter, a spokesperson for Galdes confirmed the minister did reach out to individuals from time to time, especially when they opted to “approach the minister directly through any means of communication”.
“The decision to allocate social accommodation rests exclusively with the Allocation Board within the Housing Authority, a body which is autonomous from the ministry or the Housing Authority board itself," the spokesperson said.
The decision is then communicated to the minister whenever it concerns persons who had been referred by the minister personally following that first private encounter.
"The minister then sometimes calls these persons to close the proverbial circle and speaks to them informally in parallel to or following the official formal communication by the Housing Authority, which is the final written notice of allocation,” the spokesperson said.
Despite the occasional calls to individuals, the spokesperson insisted “the Housing Authority operates autonomously in all allocations, as was the case in over 1,300 allocations since 2017”.
At the end of 2021, there were some 1,321 applicants still on the Housing Authority’s accommodation waiting list.
Some 279 families were set to move into their new home at the start of 2022, as newly built housing sites in Birkirkara, Attard, Żebbuġ, Siġġiewi, Żurrieq, Kirkop and Qrendi became available.
According to the government, by the end of the year the waiting list will stand at less than 800 people.