Decent housing opportunities ‘is a national priority’
The sharp increase in rents over the past few years is having a serious impact on the ability of vulnerable people, including families, to secure decent accommodation, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations said yesterday.
Although possibly a sign that Malta is becoming more prosperous, several Maltese and foreign individuals are simply unable to cope.
While the Coalition welcomed Malta’s economic growth, it also urged the authorities to engage in a process that will ensure growth that is truly nation-wide, and based on principles of social justice and respect for human dignity. Malta needs to ensure that everyone has access to affordable accommodation.
The Coalition said: “As organisations supporting many of Malta’s marginalised communities, we are witnessing the consequences of sharp and often unpredictable increases in rent prices, such as: homelessness, families regularly moving from one place to another, sub-standard quality of accommodation, over-crowding, the replacement of studies with employment and an over-reliance on temporary shelters.
“These are exacerbated by the long waiting lists, or ineligibility, for social housing. The people we are assisting include survivors of domestic violence, the elderly, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, women trapped in prostitution, young people, those with mental health problems and newly-separated or divorced people.”
The Coalition said that in its members’ experience, people falling into multiple categories, such as women with disabilities or elderly refugees, are more acutely affected.
It added: “We are also aware that our concerns are shared by many other people who, whilst not falling into any of the above categories, are earning low or even average incomes.
“In response to this disquieting social development, we are joining forces to raise the issue on the national political agenda. Our Coalition is based on a shared vision where economic growth is not equated with deprivation and marginalisation, but instead leads to social and human prosperity for all.
“We are therefore urging the authorities to give the matter due and urgent consideration, not only in the interests of those directly affected by these situations but also for the sake of securing social cohesion and dignified living conditions for everyone.
The Coalition is composed of: the Aditus Foundation, Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar, Anti Poverty Forum Malta, Caritas Malta, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Integra Foundation, the Jesuit Refugee Service Malta, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, MGRM, Dr. Marceline Naudi, the Organisation for Friendship in Diversity, the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), the Richmond Foundation, Spark 15, the St Jeanne Antide Foundation and the Women’s Rights Foundation.