Fast Track for Permits to Expand Affordable Housing

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset passed a law Monday night to create a fast track to approve construction proposals in an effort to expand the amount of affordable housing in the country, The Jerusalem Post reported.

According to the law, national planning committees will authorize building plans that include at least 25 percent affordable housing, meaning small apartments, homes that will be available for rent for at least 10 years or apartments rented at low prices.

Construction approved by the special committees will have to be completed within two and a half years.

Opposition MKs derided the measure, saying it was not enough.

“If [this law] is the government’s flagship when it comes to housing, then young people are in danger of sinking,” said MK Itzik Shmuli (Labor), who was one of the leaders of the nationwide 2011 housing protests before entering electoral politics.

According to Shmuli, the law “uses slogans like ‘affordable housing’ but does not make it a requirement.”

He noted further that national planning committees established as part of the previous government’s housing reform policy approved almost 25,000 new homes in 2011, but  none qualified as “affordable.”

Meanwhile, he said, housing and rental prices had increased by almost 50% since 2008.