THE booming Balearic economy was kept alive by immigrant workers encouraged to come to the region to fill the gap in the labour market by the past and present governments, but while finding a job has not been a problem, finding somewhere to live still is. Last year just 86 flats were rented to immigrants in the Inca and Manacor regions according to the social services department. The department reported yesterday that while it has 444 properties on its books, just 19 per cent of landlords were prepared to rent their properties to immigrants. Balearic Minister for Social Services, Fernanda Caro, said yesterday that the figures demonstrate the need for the Social Services to act as a go-between in order to help immigrants find secure housing, while guaranteeing monthly rent payments. The Social Services pilot scheme in Inca and Manacor is due to be extended to Palma and Calvia to help immigrants find housing. “In many cases, despite the fact that the potential tenant can pay the rent, prejudice is denying immigrants the right to proper housing, which is why they are having to act as a negotiator,” Caro said. The pilot scheme was launched 16 months ago, since then 251 people have been housed in 96 furnished, three-bedroom flats paying an average monthly rent of 437 euros. Inca, Sa Pobla, Maria de la Salut, Manacor and Muro have been the five areas where most immigrants have been housed and none have missed a monthly payment Caro said. However, on the open market, Caro and local organisations are concerned that immigrants looking for homes are being turned away, despite having job security and adequate incomes to meet the monthly payments.


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