De­cent hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties ‘is a na­tional pri­or­ity’

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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