Members of an initiative against high rents set up camp outside the Limassol district offices during the weekend to protest over inaction by authorities to support vulnerable groups.
The ‘Movement for the Right to Housing’ set up tents outside the Limassol district administration offices on Saturday and some of its members spent the night there as part of their 24-hour protest over lack of sufficient measures to help vulnerable groups. They are to remain there until Sunday evening.
The aim of the protest is to raise awareness over problems faced by people with serious financial problems and the homeless, Lefteris Georgiou, one of the group’s coordinators told the Cyprus News Agency, “and to finally restore dignity to people.”
“We will continue our struggle and carry on with helping homeless people get off the streets, we will continue exerting pressure where necessary,” Georgiou said.
The group, that staged a similar protest last November, are now a registered association under the name ‘Energo” (I Act).
The head of the association, lawyer, Elina Zoi, said that their aim is to mobilise members of the public into becoming “active and start participating and claiming their rights.”
The first step will be claiming the right to housing, she said, but they will later launch campaigns on the rights to health and education.
She called on everyone to support the initiative.
The group had said last December that the increase in rents in Nicosia reached up to 30 per cent while in Limassol they have doubled resulting in an increase in homelessness.
According to the latest data of the labour ministry the number of homeless people on social welfare’s radar has more than doubled each year since 2015 with 129 cases being managed last year compared with 49 in 2016 and 26 in 2015.
The Limassol chamber of commerce and industry (Keve) warned last week that rents in the city will continue to spiral, because of the thousands of construction workers needed to complete the many development projects underway, and all requiring housing in or near the city.