€1m investment for specialised housing projects

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The opening of a second call for projects that will alter government buildings that for many years have been left in a dilapidated state in projects that will provide a specialised service to specific cohorts of society.

Minister for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes opened a second call for specialised housing projects with an investment of €1m. A call for projects that is open to non-governmental entities, foundations, associations, and religious institutions as well as to groups of citizens who come together to offer a service.

Projects for which four dilapidated or abandoned government properties will be used, located in Valletta, Birkirkara and San Ġwann.

Minister Roderick Galdes explained that the government has allocated more money for more such projects following the success of last years’ pilot projects that are changing the dilapidated property in Bormla and Birgu, in Dar Terry and Dar Bla Ħitan in which the specialised service within will be provided by the Richmond Foundation and Fondazzjoni mid-Dlam għad-Dawl.

He reiterated that these are “projects that give me satisfaction because they are a perfect evidence of the policy we are adopting. Projects that are not only making use of government property that has been left in a dilapidated state for many years but through which we opened our hands and invested in ideas of non-governmental entities that without this funding and without this property would have remained on paper. With these projects, they are addressing the specific needs of particular cohorts in society.”

Minister Roderick Galdes explained that the government’s vision of housing in our country is based on the main point that the need of one person is as important as the need of the masses. That is why the housing strategy in our country is going beyond the one-size-fits-all policy.

“It would have been easy for me as a minister to make a simple work plan that puts everyone in the same basket, but I did not want that. I wanted to allocate enough money for the housing sector in our country against a background of a strong economy so that in addition to initiatives that address the challenges of the masses we also address the specific needs of those who were knocking on the government’s and the Housing Authority’s door and going back without help.”

Chairperson of the Specialised Housing Board Dr Rachael Scicluna reiterated that “the home is the centre of life. It is not just a physical structure, but a cultural symbol based on individual and collective values, aspirations and memories. With this perspective, the Board has created a modern methodology dedicated to regenerating abandoned or vacant homes to bring them back to life in the community. This method is built in collaboration between the government, public entities such as the Chamber of Architects and the third sector as well as with citizens. With this type of collaboration, we will be able to foster this sustainable perspective while meeting the needs of the contemporary society by being in constant contact with it”.

CEO of the Housing Authority Leonid McKay explained that despite the ambitious social housing project, we still need to understand that there is a faction of people for whom a key and a roof over their head is not enough.

“These people need more than that. They need ongoing and personal support. This is the concept that illuminates the vision of specialised housing as no one like non-governmental organisations can make this possible. The Authority has always believed in collaborating with NGOs in different sectors. Evidence of this is the collaboration between the Housing Authority, Richmond Foundation and Mid-Dlam għad-Dawl during 2019 with projects for mothers with mental health difficulties and people who are integrating back in society from Corradino Correctional Facility.”

He concluded by mentioning how important it is to understand how much this collaboration has translated into after-care benefits for those who are making use of buildings that will come to life again through this project.

Another detail of this project is that the house’s design is selected after a design competition, that for another year is being organised, in collaboration with the Chamber of Architects. This is so that the government can set an example and promote the importance of the relation between the design of the house and the needs of the people who live in it.

The call for these projects opened today, 15th June and closes on 6th July. Those interested can access all the information on the site housingauthority.gov.mt.