Cubans flock to apply for new housing subsidy

January 18th, 2012 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, Jan 18 (IANS/EFE) The Cuban government accepted more than 1,300 applications for subsidies to either repair or build homes on the first day the measure went into effect, official daily Juventud Rebelde said Tuesday.

At least 4,900 people flocked Monday to the offices concerned to file their applications for subsidies, of which 1,339 were accepted, the newspaper said.

Announced Jan 4, the measure is intended to help low-income people buy construction materials and pay for labour to repair and build housing.

Priority is given to families affected by catastrophes such as hurricanes and floods and to others in “critical” situations.

For home construction, the state will finance basic units of 25 square meters valued at no more than 80,000 pesos ($3,333).

For “minor preservation activities” the subsidy will include up to 5,000 pesos ($208) and for other “more complicated” work the figure will increase to 10,000 pesos ($417).

Juventud Rebelde said Tuesday that there were more applicants than could be attended at a number of offices during the first day of the measure, adding that “some people have still not entirely understood the subsidy concept”.

“Affected by a complex economic situation and amid the increasing deterioration of housing in general, there are those who do not fulfill the requirements to receive subsidies like this. Nonetheless, they saw in the measure a possible solution to their building needs,” the newspaper said.

In 2010, President Raul Castro’s government began granting construction licenses and freed up the sale of building materials - the prices of which were recently lowered - and in 2011 it authorised the buying and selling of houses among individuals and facilitated other ways for property to change hands.

–IANS/EFE
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