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Ioannou (Ministry of Education): Housing plans and incentives for the development of rural and mountainous areas

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 Ιωαννου (ΥΠΕΣ ): Σεγαικσδικνητρ&gamma ;ιαανπυπαυ ορειν ; περ&iot;οχoν

Mr. Ioannou states that the revision of the plans attempts to correct weaknesses, in order to make the Plans more attractive to the citizens.

The incentives to citizens for the development of the countryside and mountainous areas, as well as the housing plans that make up the government's housing policy, are summarized in an article by the Minister of the Interior, Konstantinos Ioannou.

Referring to the incentives that voted by the Council of Ministers last week, for the development of mountainous areas and the countryside, the Minister notes that a substantial upgrade of the Housing Schemes granted for the revitalization of rural communities, mountainous, disadvantaged and critical areas has been implemented.

As he states, in conjunction with the development of employment, education, health and leisure infrastructure, “our aim with the revision of the Plans is to create conditions and give incentives, especially to our young people, to choose these areas for their residence”. .

The Minister notes that the initiative came about after dozens of suggestions from the Commissioner for the Development of Mountain Communities, the Union of Communities, organized groups, but also the citizens themselves. “It is a fact that, since 2019 when the previous Government implemented the Plans with great success, they were embraced by the citizens and proof of this is the 1,500 approvals given so far, with an investment of €55.4 million,” he points out.

Mr. Ioannou states that with the revision of the plans an attempt is made to correct weaknesses, with the aim of making the Plans more attractive to the citizens. Initially, areas such as Peristerona and Astromeritis were included and the category of other communities was upgraded, so that the beneficiaries would receive an increased subsidy.

As he notes, the subsidy ranges from €20,000 to €70,000 based on other criteria. In addition, the duration of the Schemes is extended from one to two years, so as to give the interested parties sufficient time to secure the necessary permits required to apply.

“At the same time, we were receiving complaints regarding the exclusion of citizens who acquired a house through donation some years before. Wanting to give them the opportunity to benefit from the Schemes, we excluded from the criteria the date of acquisition of the property, assuming that the repair will be done for owner-occupancy” , states.

In addition, the Minister also refers to the process of securing a loan. As he said, it was decided that the beneficiaries will be granted a pre-approval letter so that they can approach the banking institutions for lending the remaining amount. “Combined with the simplification of the payment process and the payment of the amount in three installments, of which the first is an advance payment, it is easier for citizens to secure a loan and, therefore, to start work faster”, he underlines.

< p>In addition, he states that a fair request that has reached him concerns the exclusion of foreign students from the Schemes for a period of two years after their return and notes that this is finally resolved by removing this restriction. In this way, he notes, we achieve our goal of attracting young people to the mountain communities, who bring with them experiences and knowledge, contributing to the development of their communities.

In addition to the Housing Schemes, Mr. Ioannou states that it was deemed appropriate to review the Highlands Allowance, including more Communities, at the same time as correcting some points that, as he says, were unfair to groups of beneficiaries, such as the unequal treatment of pensioners, who received lower allowance than non-pensioners. The increase from €85 to €165 of the allowance equalizes all beneficiaries and contributes to maintaining the existing population in these areas, the Minister points out, adding that the inclusion of foreign students among the beneficiaries is aimed in the same direction.

< p>“All of the above revisions harmonize the Housing Plans for rural and mountainous areas with the Government's objectives for housing policy and the strategy for rural development,” he notes.

The Minister also referred to the Housing Policy Plans, such as “Built to Rent” and the revised urban planning incentives to increase the affordable housing stock and citizens' access to it. “As a Ministry we are in close contact with land development professionals, who have warmly embraced the two plans and have suggested specific amendments to improve them. I am delighted that next week, we will be able to announce these improvements, which I am confident that it will be to the benefit of the citizens as the final recipients of our efforts”, he states.

Furthermore, Mr. Ioannou said that very soon the implementation of two more Housing Policy Plans, the “Renovate -Rent” and the subsidy of 200 cases of young people/young families under 41 years of age. He emphasized that they are two extremely important Plans, which will provide short-term solutions to alleviate the serious housing problem. He clarified that the applications will be made through a special electronic platform of the Housing Authority, as the executive arm of the housing policy, and the green light is expected from the Legal Service, in order for them to be implemented.

“As part of a wider social policy, which wants the State alongside the citizen to provide solutions in his daily life, the housing policy aims to improve the quality of life of our fellow citizens, not only in the urban centers, but mainly in areas that are faced with the risk of abandonment”, concludes the Minister.

Source: politis.com.cy

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