Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pinna lashes out at Government ‘failure' over Housing

Action for Housing

Lack of affordable housing and the shortage of Government housing for rental have become a serious social issue and the Chief Minister is being called upon to explain why he is delaying.

That emerged yesterday after Action for Housing revealed that No 6 has not even bothered to acknowledge their letters calling for action on these issues.

Henry Pinna, Action for Housing chairman, made public a letter to Chief Minister Peter Caruana in which he also chastises the Government for failing to start the construction of 150 flats at Devil’s Tower and for the long delays over affordable housing due to be announced for sale shortly but two years away from completion.

The housing situation continues to worsen with the passage of time, says Mr Pinna. “All in all quite a dismal scenario which, so far, you have not begun to address in a resolute way,” he says.

Action for Housing Letter to Chief Minister

Dear Chief Minister,

We wrote to you on 1 February 2005 and brought to your attention that in your last manifesto you had said you would be constructing some 150 flats for rental, but that to date no indication had been given as to when you intended to commence construction.

We put it to you that to start building these 150 flats for rental at Devil’s Tower Road, which was the designated site for this project, you would first have to re-site the workers’ hostel, and clear the site of the derelict Ready Mixed factory, nothing of which had yet been done.

We expressed the view that unless you acted very quickly, you would be unable to deliver on this electoral commitment. You did not reply to our letter, so we wrote to you again on 9 March and again on 18 April requesting an answer.

Regrettably to date you have not replied, and we see no indication that the construction of these flats for rental is going to happen in the immediate future. And whilst you procrastinate, the housing situation worsens with the passage of time.

The average waiting time now for those applicants who have been categorised “A” on the Social list is some eighteen months. Medical cases who are placed on the “A” Medical list do not fare any better.

Those other applicants already on the housing waiting lists (some 600) are having to wait longer and longer for an allocation, and those first time buyers who want access to low-cost housing are, by and large, unable to find anything affordable. Even if, as anticipated, the construction of affordable housing and flats for the elderly citizens start shortly, the commencement of these projects have already been significantly delayed, and will, once started, take about two years to complete.

All in all quite a dismal scenario which so far you have not begun to address in a resolute away.

Two years ago we were hopeful that you would soon start to take steps to break the back of our housing needs. Now we are seriously concerned because the lack of affordable housing, and Government housing for rental has become a serious social issue.

Given the public importance of this matter and the fact that you have not answered our letter of 1 February 2005, we have decided to make this letter public, and hope you will reply to us publicly and tell us, and the general public, when you intend to construct the 150 flats for rental as promised in your 2003 election manifesto, also the 160 flats for the elderly, and the low cost housing on the site at North Mole Road, the construction of which, according to your manifesto, should have started in the spring of 2004.

Yours faithfully,

Henry Pinna

For Action for Housing


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