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Categories revealed for 7,000 social housing flats

Housing Minister Muizz also revealed plans to vacate 256 households from the capital under the ambitious social housing project.



Categories for awarding 7,000 flats under an ambitious social housing project have been revealed with applications due to open in two weeks.

Briefing the press on Sunday, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizz said successful applicants will be chosen by August following an evaluation process, assuring that prices will be affordable.

Providing housing for youth and newly-weds was a campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen, who aims to resettle 80,000 people in new apartment complexes in Hulhumalé, a reclaimed island near the capital being developed as an urban centre.

Contrary to previous assurances, Muizz said unsuccessful applicants for about 700 flats awarded last year would have to resubmit forms as information such as the number of children would have to be updated.

He did not take any questions from reporters.

Muizz revealed that a detailed survey was conducted to vacate 256 households from the western Maafanu district, which was inhabited in the 70s by Giraavaru islanders resettled on a reclaimed area of Malé.

Despite living in cramped and difficult conditions, most people were previously ineligible for government housing programmes, he said.

“We have decided to give a flat from Hulhumalé to each of those households. That is after vacating those homes,” he said, adding that the empty blocks would be redeveloped with parks and three 25-story towers.

The housing minister has been overseeing rapid changes to Malé’s landscape with a new artificial beach, road expansion and an industrial village.

Muiz noted that about 1,500 mid to high-range units are also under construction in Hulhumalé, from which 200 would be allocated for doctors.

Yameen’s administration plans to relocate and settle 70 percent of the country’s 338,000 population to the ‘Youth City.’ A Chinese-financed bridge connecting Malé with the airport island and Hulhumalé is expected to be complete this year.