Thursday, July 07, 2005

Gibraltar ‘needs solutions now'!

- Action for Housing tells Government Gibraltar needs solutions now!

Lobby group Action for Housing (AH) renewed pressure on the Government yesterday to come up with solution to the current state of public and private housing.

They recognise the Chief Minister’s acknowledgement of a policy failure but seek an explanation on how and when the current problems will be tackled.

AH say that during the Budget debate the then Minister for Housing Jaime Netto had assured the people of Gibraltar that despite some delays the construction of low cost housing and flats for the elderly at Waterport Terraces would go ahead and would be delivered on time.

Mr Netto had also other future developments such as the Victualling Yard and more recently Government announced projects at Buena Vista and North Gorge to provide 500 affordable houses if a deal is struck.

“Although the delivery of homes at Waterport Terraces might be ready for occupation in some two years time, provided construction is not delayed any further, we are concerned because it seems that the flats for rental, other than those for the elderly, will not be built in the immediate future.”

The group adds that in their last election manifesto the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) promised to build flats for rental at Devil’s Tower Road but that these “much needed homes” have now been mentioned by the Minister for Housing together with other projects and the housing properties that MOD has released or will be releasing.

“It is now almost certain that the promised flats for rental at Devil’s Tower Road will not be built during the next two years.”

AH say are concerned that even if Waterport Terraces goes ahead it will be two years before these can be occupied and in the meantime there is a serious housing problem which is affecting people now.

“Acknowledging the delay in providing housing and apologising publicly is commendable, but little consolation to those in urgent need of housing. Government needs to be specific and explain how they intend to resolve the housing needs of those on social and medical ‘A’ lists.

These are urgent cases which need to be tackled promptly, and making them wait over a year for an allocation, as happens now, is not acceptable. Government also has to offer allocation to those who, after years of waiting, have reached the top of the waiting lists.”

The group says that no one can deny that Gibraltar has a serious housing problem and that Government has a political and social responsibility not only to resolve the medium and long term but also to tackle urgent cases in a resolute manner,” said Henry Pinna, their spokesman.

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