Statements by the General Secretary of AKEL S.Stefanou

AKEL fights for a comprehensive and structured housing policy for the 1974 refuges, vulnerable groups and young people

23 April 2023, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia

Within the framework of the all-Cyprus campaign AKEL has launched on housing, we have today come to the area of the refugee settlements of Larnaca, where settlements have been maintained and new ones have been constructed, mainly during the period of the Demetris Christofias Government.

The need for new refugee settlements to be built and for the renovation of old settlements that have problems must continue at a rapid pace and be highlighted. We are highlighting these issues with the campaign we are organising on housing because refugee housing is part of the overall housing issue Cyprus is facing.

We are currently in a situation that is the result of the indifference that was demonstrated by the previous government for a whole decade. If we look at the spending allocated and at the policies that have been implemented, we will conclude that the previous government appeared extremely inactive in relation to the problems of refugees and as a result today these problems have accumulated that must be addressed as soon as possible, also taking into account the recent earthquakes that have taken place in the area and the fact that a specific study that has been carried out in previous years has revealed that many apartment buildings, not only those of refugees, are facing serious safety problems.

These problems must be addressed in a speedy manner, together with the housing problem both the refugee population and society in general are facing, especially the vulnerable groups of the population, young people and young couples who cannot acquire housing because of the increased costs.

We have elaborated specific proposals and policies on how the state can intervene, under the responsibility of the government, in order to improve access to housing for the refugee population and all groups that need help to acquire housing.

Through our campaign and contacts with the people we are enriching these proposals, such as through our contacts we had today with people here in the districts. Our aim is to come back and submit these proposals to the Government and put pressure – both within and outside of parliament – so that a comprehensive and coherent housing policy is pursued that includes the refugees on the part of the Government.

This is the only way to address the burning housing problem we face as a society and this is what we will continue to do.

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