Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today pledged to clamp down on a delicate issue most politicians won’t touch with a barge pole, that of social housing inhabitants who no longer require such state aid.
“Social housing shouldn’t be a perpetual rent, and if you progress in life, you must give way for the sake of those who need help,” Muscat said today. “We must combat this sense of entitlement, even though it won’t earn us popularity points.”
The state of undeserving social housing tenants is a major problem in Malta, with many remaining in these properties even when their life situation improves to a point where they can afford to buy an apartment.
At the same time, there are almost 3,000 pending social housing applications, 89% of whom have been on the list for over five years.
While Muscat said he won’t try to “change things that happened in the past”, he insisted that the mentality he intends to introduce will be applied to all future social housing projects.
“Giving residents a key to social housing will be just one step of an entire process,” he said. “We must ensure these apartments don’t end up as cages that people get locked into at the cost of their own social progress but that they are a mere phase in someone’s life.”
The Prime Minister made this pledge during a press conference at Castille this morning to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Housing Authority and the National Development and Social Fund, which administers the money from Malta’s sale-of-citizenship scheme, for the construction of 500 new social housing units.
The social housing units will be divided into 22 different zones in Paola, Kirkop, Rabat, Haż-Żabbar, Mellieħa, Luqa, Żurrieq, Haż-Żebbuġ, Qormi, Siġġiewi, Qrendi and Marsascala.