A MOTION addressing social welfare problems and shortcomings in Orihuela Costa was approved by the majority in the full council meeting in Orihuela. The Socialist/Green party government voted against.
Councillor Bob Houliston, of the CLARO party, presented the motion for social rent to be available on the coast, highlighting the number of families turning to charitable organisations for help with food and support to pay essential bills like electricity. Caritas of Orihuela Costa currently looks after the needs of 60 families every week, the equivalent of 120 people.
Councillor Houliston said: “Those living in Orihuela Costa will be familiar with the two blocks of social housing built pre-crisis, nearly seven years ago, originally for sale at non-profit prices.
“They remain empty and abandoned despite the fact that many Orihuela families are being evicted from their homes because of mortgage payment problems. It is shameful that after seven years no convincing action by the local government has been taken to enable these apartment blocks to be occupied on a rental basis.
“The local government blames the regional government in Valencia for this situation but, after nearly four years in office, this is not a good enough excuse.”
For those in Orihuela Costa seeking help, whether that be meals on wheels, home help or economic support, they should first speak to the Social Assistant in the Civic Centre, Alameda del Mar. The Social Assistant is present four mornings a week, but it was argued that appointments have to be made in advance in Spanish and that the Civic Centre is too small to deal with the population of the Orihuela Costa.
Councillor Houliston said: “No wonder there are so many active groups on the coast helping the needy without receiving any financial support from the municipal government, which similar groups receive in Orihuela. No attention has been paid to the special needs of those living on the coast.”