Sociologist and social justice activist appointed chairperson of affordable housing board


Dr Mary Grace Vella has been appointed chairperson of the affordable housing board, the Ministry for Social Accommodation announced on Saturday.

Vella started her career in the public sector as a probation officer with the Correctional Facility and served as a social inclusion officer within the Ministry for Social Politics. Currently, she is a lecturer within the Systems of Knowledge Department at the Junior College and is also a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Well-being at the University of Malta.

She is also a contributor to the Centre for Labour Studies and offers technical consultancy services on poverty reduction and social exclusion issues to the Ministry of Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity.

Vella has been a long-standing activist with Moviment Graffitti and is known for her activism relating to achieving more social justice and environmental justice.

Dr Vella graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and subsequently obtained a Diploma in Probation Services and further qualifications at Masters’ level in Sociology, Human Rights and Democratisation. In 2013, she obtained her Doctorate in Political Sciences from the Department of Sociology at the University of Malta.

“Dr Vella will continue the priceless work carried out within this board by the late Joe Bartolo and will salute his memory by working towards the materialisation of the concept of affordable housing in our country,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes remarked that, “Despite her excellent academic qualifications, has also distinguished herself as a person who excels in the practical side of her work,” when commenting on the appointment.

He said that Dr Vella will be working hand in hand with the ministry to ensure that the third sector of housing in our country, affordable housing, bears the intended fruits for the benefit of our families.

Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Authority Leonid Mckay said that he is convinced that Dr Vella is the ideal person to help us continue realising the dream of the beloved Joe Bartolo who devised a model of affordable housing which is both self-financed and non-profit.