In Cuba, you can have the best of jobs, be a professional, have the highest of salaries, have no problems with alcoholism or any other vice, and still not be able to count on having your own house or reliable housing.
Perhaps, a pandemic is the situation that highlights the most the need for decent housing. In the vast majority of countries in the world, those who do not have a place to live can usually chalk it up to alcoholism, drugs, mental illness or simply those who do not have a secure job that guarantees them the possibility of attaining their own home. In Cuba, you can have the best of jobs, be a professional, have the highest of salaries, have no problems with alcoholism or any other vice, and still not be able to count on having your own house or reliable housing.
Below, I present some points that can help you understand the situation of the problematic nature of housing in Cuba.
It is possible that any Cuban can obtain a home through inheritance from their parents, although in the event that the family member dies before granting them the right to the transfer of the asset (i.e. the house), since the child or whoever is the beneficiary must return to pay for that dwelling in order to be able to claim the title of ownership, sometimes you can end up paying up to three times for the same house.
Due its geographical location, Cuba is hit each year by cyclones that Cuban families end up paying a heavy price for, as they result in partial and total damage to their homes, damage that most of the time remains for long periods without any possible resolution. And when all is said and done, the State might award the family some materials for the reconstruction of their home, but it may well happen that they never see the materials except on paper since in the so-called “tracking” (the deposit of construction materials) there is no “trace” of the said materials. They may simply tell you that there is no cement or sand at the moment, and the “no” becomes the only answer you will hear for a long time.
You don’t necessarily have to wait for the effects of a hurricane to find yourself living on the streets. Let me explain, most of the buildings in Cuba are very old, and like most people, the owners can no longer afford to repair their homes from time to time. Firstly, no one provides you with the building materials and, secondly, buying them at an exaggerated price is not possible for most people. A few days of heavy rains can cause landslides of great magnitude, even resulting, in many cases, in the loss of human lives. The Cuban government never gives you a satisfactory answer (they do not have sufficient capacity in the shelters, nor do they have temporary housing for the affected families). In the best case scenario, to avoid staying on the street, you can try to negotiate with the officials in charge at the municipal housing offices, you may try an offer of 3000 CUC (2700€) to reach one of those houses that have been left empty due to confiscation, people having left the country, etc. Of course, this only works if you have that money and, on the other hand, that these officials don’t have anything better to offer.
The topic of housing in Cuba has become an everyday evil, anything can happen at a moment’s notice and suddenly you’re living on the streets for an indefinite period of time, where the hope of finding adequate housing is nil.