Housing Authority revising policies to better address the needs of disabled persons
The Housing Authority’s Disability Scheme has been recently revised with the aim to better address the needs of persons with disabilities.
The scheme is the first in a series of revisions of policies which is being carried out by the Housing Authority as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Authority and the Commission for the Rights of persons with a Disability (CRPD) last year.
Apart from the revision of policies, the MOU states that CRPD will also provide disability equality training to staff members of the Housing Authority on an annual basis.
“As the national regulator of the disability sector in Malta, CRPD is pleased to collaborate with the Housing Authority and commends its commitment to improve the lives of disabled persons in Malta. This is a proactive measure which goes beyond what is required by law and works to sensitize and amend policies so that housing can be accessed by all,” said CRPD Commissioner Oliver Scicluna.
Amendments to the Disability Scheme include the increase in the assistance from €5,000 to €7,000 on lifts in private blocks of apartments where there is a person with disability.
In private houses, the maximum grant for a lift installation in a private house has increased to €20,000 from€15,000.
Other measures relate to the elimination of the clause which stated that the value of the property in respect of which the application is made should not exceed €250,000. The limit of the applicants’ capital assets has also been raised from €30,000 to €150,000.
The income of the applicants together with the eligibility of the grant has also been amended, with the 100 per cent assistance threshold raised from €15,000 to €25,000.
Apart from the MOU, CRPD also reviews all the applications submitted to the Planning Authority in order to vet their accessibility. The developer is required to obtain a certificate from CRPD stating that the plans are compliant, before the Planning Authority issues a compliance certificate to allow for water and electricity to be connected to the development. CRPD also provides a weekly consultation service at the Planning Authority offices, where a CRPD technical expert provides advice regarding physical accessibility to those who are in the process of submitting development applications.
Also, last summer, the Accessibility Standards for all in a Built Environment Regulations were formally announced. The standards used to be a Maltese National Standard adopted by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority which came into effect upon publication of a notice on 10 April 2015, but have now been directly transposed into Maltese law.