The government had not forgotten about social housing but had instead focused on improving state financing first, Housing Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes said on Wednesday.
“Previous administrations had slowed down on building of social housing – mostly due to financial considerations. This administration has addressed those financial issues, found new streams of funding and now is going to be building housing at a rate not seen since the Mintoff government of the 1970s,” he said.
Mr Galdes was fielding questions from reporters during an official visit to a Cospicua site earmarked for a new housing project.
The Hanover Hill development will replace what Mr Galdes described as an abandoned “slum area”. It will house 68 units across six blocks, with 110 parking spaces. It will also include 850 square metres of open space.
Other projects in Siġġiewi and Birkirkara were also well under way, and the first apartments were expected to be available in two years time, he said. Reporters were quick to point out that this would mean that it will have taken a Labour government seven years to build any social housing projects.
Some 3,200 people are currently on the waiting list for social housing.
Mr Galdes said the phenomenon was largely due to broken families.
“Many of these people have been through a marital separation and cannot keep up with the costs of having a family and paying rent,” he said.
The Housing Authority, Mr Galdes said, had taken a number of steps to evict those abusing the system and taking up State accommodation when they were not entitled to it.
Back in May, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had announced that some €50 million from the passport-for-cash citizenship programme would be used to build 500 housing units across the island.
This was over and above the €58 million social housing project on a number of different sites. The project will see 680 new apartments being built for people truly in need.
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