J'lem Municipality OKs panel to consider cheap housing for young

The long-awaited move, which was approved by Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, comes three months before the city's mayoral elections.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
August 4, 2008 23:09
1 minute read.
J'lem Municipality OKs panel to consider cheap housing for young

safra housing demo 224.8. (photo credit: Courtesy )

After decades of continued Jewish emigration from Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Municipality announced plans Monday to establish a committee to consider cheap housing options for students and other would-be young residents of the capital. The long-awaited move, which was approved by Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, comes three months before the city's mayoral elections and was made just hours ahead of a student demonstration at city hall against the lack of affordable housing in the city. The committee, to be headed by Prof. Shlomo Hasson of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will study various proposals for affordable housing for students and young couples. Options to be considered include obligating building contractors to sell a percentage of their flats to young residents at reduced rates, and providing them with cheap city rentals. "For over a year now, we have been urging the municipality to find a solution to the housing problems facing students and young people in the city," said demonstrator Roy Folkman, 33, who sported a tee-shirt reading 'danger ghost town ahead of you.' "We are fed up with promises and want action," he said adding that the city had to act so that non-millionaires could afford housing in the capital. "The prices here are crazy for students," concurred Dana Peer, 24, who graduates from Hebrew University this year. Peer, of Rishon Lezion, said that she would like to stay in Jerusalem but was unsure she could afford to. Three-hundred-thousand Jewish residents have left the city over the past 20 years, primarily in search of affordable housing and job opportunities. Nearly half of these were Israelis between the ages of 25 and 34. The city said that the committee is expected to present its finding in four months - after the November mayoral elections. "It is surprising that the mayor waits out his entire term of more than 5 years in order to start such a simple process, while young people are leaving Jerusalem on a daily basis," Jerusalem opposition-leader Nir Barkat said of the decision. "The solutions to this problem have long been known and the only question is who will be sitting on the mayor's chair after the election in order to carry them out," he said.


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