Cyprus Mail

‘Generous’ housing scheme extended

empty shops and crumbling buildings in the old city (christos theodorides)
File photo: Crumbling buildings in the old Nicosia (Christos Theodorides)

Over 950 families in rural, mountainous and remote areas have received a total funding of €34.2 million to build a house, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Wednesday as he announced the relaunch of the revised housing schemes for this year.

Due to the great interest, the government continues to provide “generous” financial support to mainly new families who wish to live outside the city, the minister said, while he also presented the housing schemes aimed to revitalise the walled city of Nicosia.

The schemes aiming at rural, mountainous and remote areas, launched on a pilot basis in 2019, seem to have a positive short- and long-term impact for their development, he added. In total, 951 families benefited from the schemes since their implementation receiving €34.2m.

In 2023, the budget increases to €20m from €5m and €15m in 2021 and 2022 respectively, Nouris said, as he listed the changes in the schemes.

This year, the communities of Mammari, Denia and Troullon but also Athienou are by exception upgraded from ultra-peripheral regions to mountainous and less favoured which will allow residents to apply for increased benefits. Furthermore, Pyla area has been included in the rural housing scheme.

In addition, a new separate grant scheme has been established for the Strovilia area which has been shown a decline in residents. Since there is an inability to grant planning permission for the contraction of new buildings in the area, Nouris said the scheme offers financial assistance for repairs on existing houses.

The benefits, amounting to €95,000, were approved by cabinet in February 8 and aim, among others, to increase the pool of beneficiaries and give more incentives to young people to apply. The start date for applications will be March 1 with a closing date of December 31, 2023.

As regard the allowances to support residents in mountainous and remote areas, seven additional communities, namely Ayios Amvrosios, Doros, Kapiliou, Kedaron, Limnati, Medanon and Monagri, have been exceptionally included for 2023. The opening date for applications is April 3 until April 30 this year.

Nouris said that in 2022, some 21,200 people received the mountainous areas allowance, amounting to approximately €5m. A one-off payment of €4.6 million was also granted to cope with inflation while €2.2m were also provided to 6,700 people living in remote areas that year.

Referring to the plan granting assistance to those wishing to acquire a permanent residence in the walled city of Nicosia, the minister said applications are accepted from March 1 to December 2025 or until the €5m budget is exhausted.

He noted how the government relaxed the criteria for this scheme, as it aims to curb the “ghettoisation” of the area by helping put an end to the “illegal residence of an excessively large number of irregular migrants in unsuitable buildings”. It also aims to increase the population density and revitalise the city, Nouris said.

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