Newly revised housing plans to regenerate mountain villages, rural areas and areas on the Green Line, and the allowances to support residents in mountain communities were approved by cabinet on Wednesday.

In a statement after the meeting, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that these are housing schemes providing financial support for the acquisition of housing in mountainous and disadvantaged areas, which were implemented “with great success by the previous government in 2019”.

He added that since the start of their implementation to date, 1,500 applications have been approved under the schemes, corresponding to the granting of €55 million in financial assistance, while some 14,000 households, corresponding to 29,500 people, benefited from the allowances in 2023, with a total grant of €7.5 million.

“Despite the very encouraging response from residents and the modifications made to the plans in previous years, we have received many suggestions and proposals to improve them in a way that maximises the benefit,” the minister said.

Ioannou added that after consulting with various authorities they have added new measures to expand the scope of the scheme.

He said that although the process took some additional time, resulting in delays, nevertheless the result includes the vast majority of the main suggestions made.

These changes include new communities and more beneficiaries.

In addition, cases in which construction work has not been completed are considered eligible, regardless of the date of commencement of the work.

Ioannou added that the plan is extended until December 31, 2025 and becomes a two-year plan to allow interested parties sufficient time to secure the necessary planning and building permits required to apply.

In addition, an exception to the date of acquisition is granted so that applicants who acquired a dwelling by inheritance in communities falling within the categories of “mountainous and disadvantaged areas” and “extremely mountainous, small and remote areas” before the start of the current plan notice year can participate in the plan (i.e. 1. 1.2024), even if the inheritance was acquired earlier.

Furthermore, a letter of pre-approval to participate in the project is granted to secure a loan for the remaining amount, while the payment procedure is also simplified by paying the amount in three instalments, the first of which is granted as an advance payment, in order to enable work to start more immediately.