Minister Opens Housing Outreach Clinic At Laguna Estate

Minister for Housing, Samantha Sacramento, opened the first Housing Outreach Clinic to tenants of Laguna Estate.

The Ministry for Housing, made up of the Housing Department and the Housing Works Agency, in conjunction with the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service, attended a meeting that was was facilitated by the Laguna Estate Tenants’ Association at the Laguna social club and was attended by residents of Laguna Estate.

The GFRS gave a talk on how to both reduce the specific risks of fire as well as on how to clearly identify potential hazards. They also provided guidance on how to react and evacuate in the event of fire. Such initiative forms part of the Service’s campaign to the reinvention of the fire service culture in Gibraltar, and also forms part of the programme of the Fire Prevention Committee that is chaired by the Minister for Housing which was set up after the Grenfell fire tragedy.

The continued goal of reducing risks within the various housing estates is particularly challenging in the face of increased growth demands, changing demographics and emerging hazards. The importance of clear corridors and hallways was emphasised.

Questions from the floor were taken by the Principal Housing Officer and the GFRS Chief Fire Officer and members of his team.

Housing Works Agency senior management together with staff from the Housing Department rent and reporting sections with the senior management team where also onsite to facilitate and assist tenants with any queries, reports or information they required.

This outreach has also served as an opportunity to offer support to tenants and the Housing Department highlighted their ongoing easy payment initiative which has been set up to make the payment of rent easier for everyone as an alternative to tenants having to attend Housing Department counters in person every month. Staff were available to help set up standing orders or other alternatives to cash payments. The department’s e-billing and go green campaigns were also promoted.

The Government says that the Housing Department has commenced this outreach as a pilot at Laguna Estate as it is the biggest of its estates. The feedback from the tenants was “very positive” and the information made available to them was “well received and welcome.” This outreach will continue at our other estates and tenants will be notified through their tenants’ association.

Minster Sacramento said: “There was a great multi agency representation last night and the Housing Department hopes that by implementing such a programme, especially by combining resources, it will be able to better engage with tenants and will increase awareness as well as public safety.

“I am extremely grateful to the Principal Housing Officer, of the Housing Works Agency and the Chief Fire Officer and their respective teams for their work last night, it is a credit to all staff who gave up a summer's evening to support the estate, this evidences their dedication to the tenants and the job that they do. I would like to thank all tenants who attended and of course the Tenants’ Association for helping us organise the event.”