The government will spend €100 million over ten years to fix the problems at refugee apartment buildings, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a House refugee committee meeting, Ioannou said a plan has been drawn up to deal with 358 refugee buildings that need review. Out of those 43 were already found to need immediate action.
The plan, the minister said, will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.
He said that the problem is that many of the flats or buildings have been issued title deeds, making it difficult for the government to step in and fix the problems.
Regarding issues of static adequacy, Ioannou said that a sponsorship plan will be formulated for all 358 existing apartment buildings, so that the tenants can secure safe housing and there is no dependence on the state.
With the approval of the grant plan, he said, there will also be temporary arrangements for rehousing the tenants to begin repairing homes. Priority, he said, will be given to the repair of the 43 apartment buildings that face the most problems according to the study of the Department of Urban Planning in 2020.
He added that the amount expected to be given for each nine-flat apartment building is estimated at around €300,000, while in case of demolition, the state additionally pays the designer, who will do the entire study and make the offers.
At the same time, until the process is completed, the government will also subsidise the rent of those who will live elsewhere.
He said those who are worried about the danger of their residence in the 43 apartment buildings that are in a bad condition can immediately, with the announcement of the plan, get a subsidy to relocate elsewhere.
Commenting after the meeting, ruling Disy MP Nicos Georgiou said that he raised the need to review and strengthen refugee housing plans so they meet the current needs of young people.
With regard to the 43 refugee apartment buildings, he said that the state must support the people, prioritising public health and safety of citizens, who are not to blame for anything.
Main opposition Akel leader Stefanos Stefanou said the issue was discussed after his party’s presentations and speeches.
He also added that they once again requested the urban planning study for the 43 apartment buildings, since as he said, the parliament must and has the legal right to know what the relevant study says and includes.
He criticised the previous government for “unfathomable negligence” and “criminal indifference” in relation to a matter related to the safety of citizens, after he said they knew there were dangerous apartment blocks in an earthquake-prone area.
At the same time, he praised the reflexes of the minister, who immediately responded to the party’s request to discuss the matter in parliament and to inform them.
He added that the current government is responsible for the implementation of an action plan that is demanding and has legal and other difficulties that should be resolved.
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