by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Dianelis Chavero, a 43-year-old public transport employee living in Havana's 10 de Octubre district, is eager to move into a brand-new apartment the government has allocated to her family.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the tightening U.S. economic sanctions against the Caribbean nation, thousands of people nationwide continue to benefit from a state-funded housing program.
Chavero told Xinhua that she has long dreamed of the way she will decorate her new home, and has even bought some furniture and electrical appliances.
"I am desperate to finally move in," she said. "This is something that will definitely improve the wellbeing and living conditions of my family. I thank the Cuban authorities for this."
Like her, hundreds of people from 10 de Octubre district will move into new houses once construction work has finished in apartment units located on the outskirts of Havana, some 12 km from the city's Old Quarter.
"So far so good, as scheduled," said Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, head of a construction brigade working on site since August 2020.
"We have been provided with all building materials needed to deliver this work on time. People are working hard here," he said.
In 10 de Octubre, the country's third most populated municipality and one of the hardest-hit areas by COVID-19, more than 300 new houses will be built by the end of the year, according to local authorities.
Cuban Minister of Construction Rene Mesa Villafana has said on local TV that more than 152,000 households across the country, particularly vulnerable and low-income families, have benefited from the state housing program since 2012.
"The production of building materials will not decrease this year," he said, adding that 22 small-scale plants manufacturing bricks will be set up in the country.
Additionally, the Cuban government has also allocated apartments and houses for parents taking care of three or more children under 17 years of age.
Among them is Havana resident Belkisleidy Pena, a mother of four, who lived with her mother in a tiny house in Lawton district. "Kids have more space to play in the new apartment. I am so happy for having received support from the government," she said.
"My life has changed considerably. Home, sweet home," she said, with a happy smile.