The government will do everything it can to stand by those who need to move to new housing while their current refugee homes are demolished as part of the state ‘Ktizo’ scheme funding 43 buildings, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Tuesday.
“We will not leave them alone at any stage of the process,” he told deputies at the House refugee committee.
Last month, the government unveiled the ‘Ktizo’ scheme, which aims at tackling a slew of issues and decrepit housing conditions in refugee estates. While some will be renovated, 43 refugee building were deemed too far gone to be renovated and instead, the more financially viable option was deemed to be building new ones.
Ioannou reassured MPs the ministry was flexible “to even help people as to where the new apartments will be built.
“Both the interior ministry and town planning department will be by their side so they feel safe. We can guide them to the options they can choose, the way in which the building will be constructed and payments too.”
Held behind closed doors, during the session a number of MPs sought to scrap a provision in the scheme that requires contributions from owners of current apartments. Ioannou said the ministry would be evaluating the proposal by the House refugee committee, noting a number of changes have already been made to the scheme, as the aim is to improve things as much as possible.
Nonetheless, he said a small contribution from apartment owners would only be fair. Previously, Ioannou explained that one-bedroom apartment owners will pay between €10,000 and €12,000 to purchase a new apartment valued at between €120,000 and €130,000.
The government has also decided that subsidies for rent will depend on what the residents will be leaving behind, rather than what they will currently rent.
For instance, a couple that may have lived in a two or three-bedroom apartment but has no children, or their children may have moved out, will not need to rent a three-bedroom flat. Instead, they will rent a one-bedroom flat or perhaps live with their parents.
Irrespective of their choices “owners will be refunded for a three-bedroom flat worth €800.”
The minister also quashed rumours that apartments will be sold to Israeli citizens, saying ministry staffers were going from building to building to inform residents of all matters.
“We are even willing, even if it will not be possible to build right next to a current refugee estate, to build in the same location. We are flexible to help people.”
Additionally, the interior ministry will also help people when they need to move as well as storage.
Commenting on the fact that some apartment owners have been turned down for loan applications, Ioannou said the government has already been in touch with the Housing Finance Organisation as well as Bank of Cyprus.
For elderly people who may not be eligible for loans, their children can be guarantors, the minister specified.
For instance a loan for a couple for a two-bedroom apartment valued at €20,000, the installment will be around €100 per month for 20 years.
By the time the loan is paid off, this will be around €25,000 with interest, he specified.