News Local Government considering prefabs to solve housing problem, homelessness

Government considering prefabs to solve housing problem, homelessness

The government is considering buying prefabricated homes in order to resolve housing problems, Phileleftheros reported on Monday.

The suggestion was first put forward by the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (KOAG), in order to offer immediate solutions for people with housing problems such as homeless people and migrants.

According to Phileleftheros, the Minister of Interior has given the green light to KOAG to conduct a study on how prefabricated houses can be used to solve these problems.

“We asked KOAG to submit a complete proposal, which will cover the areas where the houses will be installed, the population groups that will be used to help and the process in which they will be granted to people,” Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said.

According to Phileleftheros, the Minister said that the construction of prefabricated houses is a priority for him.

KOAG has started examining the cost and the specifications of prefabricated houses and will then proceed with a call for tenders.

Prefabricated houses are planned to be installed in all cities. Low-cost prefabricated houses will be used to offer temporary housing solutions, while more expensive ones will be used for permanent housing.

The bigger prefabricated houses that could potentially house families are 200 m2 and contain four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and an office KOAG president Andreas Frangos said.

The houses will be energy sufficient in order to cut down on costs for heating and air conditioning.

Frangos added that the houses can be constructed by local contractors in state or KOAG land.

A “long-term” prefabricated house may cost around 60% of the price of a normal house, while a cheaper, temporary one will cost a few thousands, according to Phileleftheros.

The solution of prefabricated houses is also viewed in a positive light by the Ministry of Labour, Phileleftheros writess, in order to combat the problem of increasing homelessness, as well as to reduce the amount of money that the government spends on rent help.

Currently, 4,300 families receive rent help from the state, Phileleftheros writes. The amount allocated equals to €2.80 per square metre.

What is the housing problem in Cyprus?

In a meeting with KOAG, the Ministry of Interior suggested upgrading the role of the organisation in order to help resolve some of the challenges facing the housing market in Cyprus.

They identified them as:

  • The new framework for securing loans makes it more difficult for people to acquire a housing loan.
  • There are fewer houses on the market due the increase in students and Airbnb-style rentals, which leads to an increase in prices.
  • During the financial crisis, construction of new houses stalled thus the amount of houses available cannot meet the needs of the people.

Other proposed solutions

On July 12, 2017 KOAG submitted a number of proposed measures to combat the housing problem. Some of them included:

  • The construction of student accommodation for students of low-income families.
  • The construction of houses on KOAG land and renting them out at a low-cost to vulnerable population groups such as young couples and people who receive the minimum guaranteed income.
  • Investing on land in cooperation with the private sector and allocating some of the profits to fund welfare programmes.

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