By Evie Andreou
THE civil society group ‘Movement against foreclosures’ is trying to avert the eviction of a 37-year-old woman and her two children who live on welfare, from their home for failing to meet loan payments to the state land development agency (KOAG), the group’s Limassol coordinator George Ktistis said on Thursday.
The group, neighbours and members of the public were mobilised and temporarily prevented the bailiff from executing the court order for the family’s eviction from their apartment in Ayios Antonios in Limassol. The family lives in a block of apartments built by the KOAG, which sells homes and plots to low income families with low interest loans.
After failing to meet payments, KOAG secured a court order for the family’s eviction, which was to be executed Wednesday morning. The family’s only income is the €430 monthly benefit from the welfare service.
One of the neighbours told reporters on site that although she has three children to care for, she also provides food for the 37-year-old and her two children as they have no money.
“We were notified by the neighbours the day before and we mobilised our members and so did other groups. We blocked the building’s entrance and we prevented the bailiff from executing the court order,” Ktistis told the Cyprus Mail.
He said that the bailiff called the police for reinforcement but that he later decided to leave.
“He is coming back in 20 days, the eviction is only temporarily postponed,” Ktistis said.
He said that the woman and her two sons, aged 18 and 19, face a number of psychological problems and they are unable to work. She allegedly tried to jump off the apartment’s balcony when the bailiff arrived.
“Where were the social welfare officers during all this? We and her neighbours did their job yesterday. We were trying to support her and talk her out of jumping,” he said.
He added that the welfare office had told the 37-year-old to find another house and that they would pay the rent.
“She was unable though to find one, since she claims when she tells owners she is on welfare they turn her down,” Ktistis said.
They all signed a letter appealing to the welfare office for the rent money to be paid directly to KOAG so that the family can stay.
“We are also making a plea to president Nicos Anastasiades and MPs,” he said.
“In 20 days if no solution is found, we will mobilise as many people as possible and stand again against the bailiff and the police,” Ktistis said.
KOAG deputy director Maria Kyriakidou said that the issue is no longer “in the hands of the organisation” since the case was taken to court and it is being handled by the appointed bailiff.
“For the last two years not a cent was paid by the 37-year-old to the loan. The court decision for her eviction dates back several months. She was informed by the bailiff some time ago and she was given time to find another residence,” Kyriakidou said.
She added that the 37-year-old woman did not keep her promise she had made in the past to pay smaller monthly instalments.
She also said that after the initial eviction notice and after her apartment was damaged by fire in May, due to an accident, she was approved for exceptional aid from the welfare service to pay for her rent and was urged to find another home.