The Tel Aviv Municipality announced on Monday the launch of what it said were the first two affordable housing projects in the country, located in the Yad Eliyahu and Shapira neighborhoods.

As part of the initiative, which cost the municipality 10 percent of its urban development budget, Tel Aviv plans to advance the establishment of some 2,600 affordable apartments divided into 10 projects all over the city.

In the project’s first stage, 77 housing units in the two above neighborhoods will be made available early next year. Registration to participate in the lottery for these first units began earlier this month and will end on October 31. The first draw will take place in November.

Among the eligibility criteria established by the municipality, only people who are already Tel Aviv residents can apply; candidates must be between 27 and 45 years old; should not already own an apartment or house; and at least one adult member of the household should be earning an income.

The Shapira complex’s units will consist of three- and four-room-apartments with parking spaces priced at between NIS 2,900 and 3,100 per month. For the first draw, 45 units will be ready out of the total of 69 apartments that are expected to be finished by March 2014.

In the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood, 32 units will be available for the first draw.

Apartment sizes vary; rent will be NIS 45 per square meter, starting at NIS 1,100 per apartment.

“The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality took it upon itself, already five years ago, to create a model for affordable housing for the first time in the State of Israel,” Mayor Ron Huldai said. “This comes from the understanding that we need to allow the middle class to stay and live in the city centers, especially in light of the increasing housing prices.

“I am happy that the first projects are already developed and even though it is still a drop in the ocean, the step can set an example for the State of Israel and other municipalities to adopt,” he said.

Huldai said he expects the government, which has stated its intention of tackling the high cost of living, to “remove the bureaucratic obstacles and pass the necessary laws to advance affordable housing so that the lower and middle class will be able to live dignity in Israel.”

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