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Social Housing in Europe


Brussels, 27 March 2010 | Published in Research

What is social housing?

Housing policy in Malta strongly encourages home ownership, therefore the tendency is to distinguish between affordable housing that is generally for sale or most recently for shared ownership for middle income people and social housing that is provided mainly for rent to the neediest.

“Social housing” therefore refers to the provision of housing and housing assistance to households that are in particularly severe need, usually on a rental basis. Rental social housing is represented by Government owned dwellings and constitutes 6% of the total housing stock. Under the Right-to-Buy Scheme tenants of Government units have the possibility to become owners of the flat they live in. Since 2005 there is also a shared ownership scheme.

Who provides social housing?

The setting up of the Housing Authority in 1976 represented the cornerstone of social housing policies in Malta and brought about schemes aimed at improving the housing condition of very low income groups and promoting home ownership. The Department of Social Housing of the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity manages some properties belonging to private landlords whose residential properties were requisitioned and rented at a regulated rent regime, dating back from 1939, and also rents dwellings built by the Housing Authority.

How is it financed?

Social housing construction is directly supported by public resources through the Housing Authority.

Who can access social housing?

Registration on waiting lists managed by the Department of Social Housing is based on income ceilings. Furthermore, priority is given to particular target groups and according to their housing conditions.

In the past, units for rent were reserved only for people on the Department of Social Housing waiting list. The Authority is now creating tenure mixture when allocating units. Thus, units are sold to people under Shared Ownership some are allocated for rent by the Department and others are reserved for the elderly and others for special needs groups. In this way the Housing Authority is preventing slums from being created.