President: 7,000 Hiyaa housing units will be handed over this year

This June 26, 2019 file photo shows construction sites in Hulhumale' phase II. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Monday, announced that the 7,000 housing units built under the Hiyaa Housing Project would be handed over to their rightful tenants within this year.

The Hiyaa Housing Project had been launched in Hulhumale’ Phase II by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The then-government had released a list of tenants for the units – which had yet to be built – in its last days, a move which President Yameen’s successor, President Solih, accused of being a last ditch effort to run a corrupt scheme.

People queue to collect application forms for the Hiyaa Housing Project at Dharubaaruge on May 6, 2018. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

He had convened a committee of five members to investigate issues related to previous government housing projects including the Hiyaa Project, Gedhoruveri Kurun Project and Gulhifalhu Housing Project in one of his first acts of office.

Shortage of housing remains one of the biggest social problems in contemporary Maldives, and a catalyst for the prevalence of many other social issues.

President Solih, on Monday, addressed the housing crisis in his annual address to the Parliament.

He said that lack of personal ownership of housing, something he stressed was crucial to live respectable lives, remained the biggest worry of the Maldivian people.

He said that the information collected based on the applications sent in for the Hiyaa Project revealed there to be over 20,000 families in need of affordable housing in the Male’ City area.

He said that 17,189 applications had been screened, and that those who qualify for housing were being visited by government officials to assess their current living situation.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih delivers his annual address to the Parliament on February 3, 2020. (Photo/People's Majlis)

“So far, work on total five categories have been completed, and the lists of the rightful tenants are ready to be released. The 7,000 Hiyaa Project units, will, In Sha Allah, we handed over to the rightful [tenants] within this year,” said the President.

He also said that construction of the additional 4,000 housing units to accomodate Male' City residents who lack housing, which his own government had announced, would begin this year.

“All who have yet to receive housing under the Veshi Fahi Program will also receive housing in according to the agreement between the them and the government, within this year,” said the President.

He also announced that the 60 housing units under construction in H. Dh. Nolhivaram would also be completed, and ready for inhabitation within this year. The units are being built to accommodate the people who migrated to Nolhivaram from H. Dh. Maavaidhoo, H. Dh. Faridhoo and H. Dh. Kunburudhoo in 2011, but have yet to receive permanent housing.