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Housing woes of the poor.

Summary: ACCORDING to a new demographic report, around 20 per cent of Egyptian families (roughly 16 million persons) are living in houses composed of a single room in shantytowns created in different urban and rural regions.

The report, that was recently issued by the Higher Council for Planning and Urban Development, warns of the huge social and psychological illnesses that affect the inhabitants living under such conditions. The report also expects the number of people living in these inhuman conditions to rise because of price increases in housing units. When housing units became unaffordable to around 50 per cent of the people, the percentage of those unable to afford homes is liable to rise up to 75 per cent if the government doesn't offer due concern to the problem.

Since the government gave up its traditional role of creating houses for the poor more than two decades ago, the phenomenon of the shantytowns and slums emerged and escalated, and has even invaded the Capital itself.

In the past, the different suburbs of the Capital, for example were reflecting the different social classes living in the same city who were separated by a bridge or even a street between them. But today the gap between these classes has widened.

The last government of the Mubarak regime, lead by Ahmed Nazif, the then Minister of Housing, offered the project "Build your house" to solve the housing and poverty problem, which sought to aid families in purchasing land at relatively low prices and left families to build their own houses themselves! Apparently the project failed to serve the poor or even middle class people.

After creating the January 25 Revolution, which calls for social justice, it is unacceptable for the government to continue neglecting the housing problem of the poor. Even if it chooses to follow the market economy, the post-Revolution government should resume building housing units for the poor in return for a moderate rent if achieving urban development and eradicating the shanty towns phenomenon is a real goa

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Apr 20, 2013
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