Minister of National Planning, Housing & Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam stated on Sunday that the state is assessing the housing conditions of families living in capital Male', adding that proper data on the issue had never been collected by relevant authorities.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of "Faruma E-submission Portal" developed by Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Aslam stated that work was underway to determine living conditions in the capital after Ministry of Housing and Ministry of National Planning were merged together last month.
Although he admitted that the state knew the numbers of land plots smaller than 600 square feet, Aslam noted that authorities did not have details of how the buildings are constructed, including the number of floors or the number of families accommodated in the residence.
Aslam had formerly revealed that over 21,000 families lived in spaces smaller than 600 square feet in Male'. Describing the residences as "unfit to live in" he assured that the incumbent administration would provide adequate housing for these families.
Speaking at a news briefing, the minister had explained that the state had determined the number of people in need for housing solutions, by including the individuals who had applied, but did not qualify, for social housing schemes in the past.
"Therefore, the target is to provide housing for 21,000 families. I am not necessarily talking about new projects, [but] 21,000 families who need housing in today's situation".
As per Minister Aslam, 15 percent of the population in the capital fall below the poverty line, meaning there are numerous families who do not receive a daily income of MVR 74 per head.
He assured that these families will be provided roofs under Council Housing -- one of the incumbent administration's housing pledges.
Noting that Council Housing schemes are established to prevent families from going homeless, Aslam stated that 3,152 families in Male' City are eligible for Council Housing.
Years and years of centralisation has resulted in a large percentage of the Maldivian population migrating to the Greater Male' area, seeking better opportunities of healthcare, education and job prospects.
However, this has led to increasingly high demand for housing, resulting in inflated rent prices, in addition to unhealthy living conditions, social issues, and crime rates.
Despite various pledges and promises by a number of administrations to implement decentralisation policies and reduce the strain on the Greater Male' region, consisting of the capital, reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' and fifth ward Vilimale', Male' City still remains one of the most densely populated cities in the world.