35,000 Low-Income Housing Units Planned
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
JEDDAH, 1 September 2007 — Plans have been made to build 35,000 new low-income housing units in different parts of the Kingdom within two years, according to Ahmed ibn Ibrahim Al-Hakami, deputy minister of economy and planning.
He said these housing units — targeted by the current Eight Five-Year Development Plan — would be built by the Social Affairs Ministry and charitable organizations. The Kingdom needs more than one million housing units to shelter its poor.
He said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has allocated SR10 billion from the budget surplus to build 66,000 low-lost houses for the poor in four years at the rate of 16,500 annually.
Yousuf Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the King Abdullah Charitable Housing Foundation, said his charity wanted to construct 13,000 housing units, which will benefit some 50,000 people.
The king has donated five million square meters of land worth SR2 billion located between the Prophet’s Mosque and the Madinah airport for the foundation’s project in Madinah. The plot is meant as a source of income for the foundation.
Social Affairs Minister Abdul Mohsen Al-Akkas said poor families in Jizan, Najran, Madinah, Al-Jouf, Hail and the Northern Border Province would receive the lion’s share of 16,500 low-cost homes approved by the king. The project was estimated to cost SR2.4 billion, he added.
Al-Akkas said the new houses would be distributed free to the needy. “They will not be charged even for maintenance, which would be carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs,” the minister said.
The houses will be fully furnished and equipped with utilities such as water, electricity, telephone and sewage system. The low-cost housing units are designed in the modern construction style suited for Saudi customs and traditions besides being adapted to local climatic and environmental conditions, Al-Akkas said.