Action for Housing has repeated its criticism of Housing Minister Samantha Sacramento for directly allocating a one-bedroom flat to a person who had over 80 applicants ahead of him on the waiting list.
In a hard-hitting statement, the group accused the minister of making “false accusations” against Action for Housing in order to justify her decision, and called on her to give “a credible explanation” as to why she made the allocation.
The group was reacting after the Ministry for Housing accused it of “hypocrisy” and said it had asked for the case to be expedited, adding that the property had not been allocated by the minister.
“We categorically reject this accusation which is a complete fabrication and maintain our assertion that this allocation was made on her direct instructions,” Action for Housing said.
The applicant approached Action for Housing in December 2017 wanting to know his position on the waiting list.
The group looked into the case and established he was not medically or socially categorized.
“There were hence no exceptional circumstances which would have prompted us to request the Housing Department or Housing Allocation Committee to further review this case,” Action for Housing said in a statement.
Had such circumstances existed, the group would have asked for the case to be reviewed, in line with its standard response to such situations.
“Hence our surprise when we heard that this applicant had been allocated a Government flat,” it added.
The minister told the Chronicle this week that a bedsit had become available and after it was rejected by “numerous” applicants it was offered to the person in question, who accepted it.
“How many is ‘numerous’ when there are ‘80 applicants’ waiting for the same flat to be offered?” Action for Housing asked.
“In nearly 40 years of addressing housing issues and forming part for many years of the Housing Allocation Committee, Action for Housing has never come across a situation like this before.”
“If it is true it is frankly unprecedented.”
It added: “Action for Housing has campaigned on housing-related matters since 1981.”
“We are politically independent, we do not curry favour with anybody, we have no vested interests, and we certainly do not indulge in vendettas against anybody.”
“We have made mistakes in the past, and we will make them in the future, but we have never lied or manipulated facts to benefit one applicant at the expense of others.”
“The minister now tries to defend her decision by making false accusations against Action for Housing and in doing so further undermines the credibility and integrity of the Housing Department and its Officials by apportioning this allocation to them.”
“We again put it to the minister to give a credible explanation why she made this allocation.”
“This she should do in deference to all those applicants on the waiting list she simply by-passed.”
“And also in support of the Housing Department Officials who often bear the brunt of the applicants’ anger and frustrations when in reality there is little or nothing ‘they’ can do to help resolve the problems presented.”