Cash for razed illegal homes

People who owned illegally built homes that were destroyed in this summer’s wildfires on Evia and in northeastern Attica will be given public funds to rebuild their homes or to buy new ones as long as they weren’t located in forestland, it was revealed yesterday. The Public Works and Environment Ministry announced that the owners of both legal homes and those built without permits will be eligible for handouts, which are expected to total some 10 million euros. Some 50 homes were destroyed in the fires near Athens last month. The owners of any homes that were destroyed or which inspectors considered to be suitable for demolition will receive compensation of 750 euros per square meter up to a total surface area of 120 square meters. Homes that were under construction at the time of the fire are eligible for a third of this amount. The government will also pay 200 euros per square meter for warehouses, stables and other adjacent buildings. Those eligible for this state aid will receive the money in three instalments. Homeowners will be allowed to use the cash to buy a new home if it is no longer possible to build one on the existing site. The homeowners whose properties were completely destroyed in the blazes will also receive a cash bonus of 10,000 euros to replace their furniture and other household items. For dozens of homes that were damaged but not destroyed, the state will pay out 450 euros per square meter up to a total of 54,000 euros, which owners can use to repair or rebuild their properties. Under the ministry’s proposals, the owners will also be allowed to enlarge their properties – up to 80 square meters for a three-member family and up to 95 square meters for a four-member family. The only homes that will not be rebuilt or renovated under the scheme are those that have been built illegally on forestland. In such cases, the ministry has decided to provide anyone who has lost their house with a free container home to live in. The ministry has drawn criticism for agreeing to locate the containers within forests.