Friday, May 29

About to be thrown out on the streets: mum & 5 young kids

I recall watching a TV program based on a story by Dickens when i was a child. Some years ago i read a book "Angela's Ashes". In both cases i recall having a sort of feeling of appreciation, that at least "these things no longer happen that way today". Ahem, well, they actually do happen today.

R. is a divorced mother of 5 young children, living in Jaffa. Her husband married twice since leaving her and left both other women with children as well. He refuses to pay alimony and R and her kids are dependent on social security payments, which add up to about 2.700 NIS a month. (about 600$ for her and her 5 kids)
Her rent is 2.300 NIS. This is the monthly rent for a tiny living room and 1 bedroom, both heavily stained by fungi growing on the wall and ceilings due to humidity problems. The roof and walls leak badly when it rains. R. has NO shower (it is blocked up so badly that it cannot be used, the owner refuses to carry out the necessary repairs) and the kitchen has no drain. So buckets are used for that purpose. Showers are taken daily at friends' and neighbors' place.
The house owner belongs to a very wealthy family who own many flats in Jaffa. They love money. For them every hovel is "an investment". For their renters it's "home". But a home that doesn't look like nor feel like a real home.

R. receives rental aid of about 600 NIS monthly. Which leaves her unable to provide for her and her kids. She is behind with the rent and the house-owner has informed her he will evict her this week, as he wants his money.
Riki is desperate to find a flat, but there is nothing she can actually afford. Her kids go to a nearby school, so the area (Ajami) is of some importance.
If any of you know about something available, please let me know.

But R. is just one case.
There are many like her. There is a big request for small rental flats, as many families cannot afford to buy. This has left the flat owners with the option to make money. And they do. Disgusting hovels that do not earn the name "flat", go for amazing rental prizes. Some people have gone to live back home with their parents, but for many one parent families dependent on welfare (and not only for them, also many families living on a minimum wage cannot afford the rent) this option does not exist.
The right to a roof above ones head is a basic human right and Israel has signed different international agreements concerning this right, yet that is as far as it goes.
We are quickly heading towards a housing disaster and no one seems to be caring a great deal.

The Tel Aviv municipality committee on affordable housing caters to the 7nth percentile, couples who earn some 11.0000 NIS monthly. For them the municipality wants to build rental housing in which they can live for 5 years, for a monthly rent of 2.800 NIS.
Weird, as after all these families can afford to rent good flats on the private market with their income. Also they can get a mortgage to buy. Whereas lower income families (and that includes employed many poor whose salaries are simply too low) find themselves living in substandard conditions (i personally know a family with 8 kids to live in 1 room) , unsafe housing for which they pay very high rents.
They same municipal committee for affordable housing assumes the ministry of housing provides adequate solutions for people making less by subsidizing rent and providing public housing to the very poor. Do these guys live on the moon?
Or is it official policy: providing incentives for the well to do to live in Tel Aviv and actively kicking out the less well to do and poor?

Tell R. about their ideas. And perhaps tell her also where these presumes solutions are. After all the waiting list for Halamish public housing is 12 years....

R. will be out on the streets any day now. Her houseowner cannot but be defined as just another leach. We tried to talk to him, but all he is interested in, is money. He claims he can get $ 1000 monthly for his disgusting hovel. And he is probably right, as people are desperate.

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