Dr. Yousuf Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the King Abdullah Charitable Housing Foundation, says that Saudi Arabia currently needs at least one million residential units in order to provide decent housing for the country’s poor, the Arab News reported today.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz established the foundation three years ago in order to provide affordable housing for the poor in various regions of the Kingdom. It has already completed a large number of affordable housing units, which offer facilities such as health care and education.
Othaimeen said that the foundation hopes to build 13,000 units throughout the country within a few years, and that 2,200 would be built immediately.
He stressed that the government, private sector and charitable organizations are all making great efforts to provide housing for Saudi Arabia’s poor.
In order to be eligible for the affordable housing units, four key criteria must be met. The person must be a Saudi citizen; he cannot have received a loan from the Real Estate Development Fund; his monthly income should not exceed SR 2,500 [$666]; and he cannot be sponsoring workers.
Othaimeen added that King Abdullah donated land worth SR 2 billion [$533 million] to the foundation. The land, an estimated 5 million square meters, is located between the Prophet’s Mosque and the Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah.
King Abdullah called for a national strategy to fight poverty after visiting a Riyadh slum in 2002. He has earmarked SR 2 billion [$533 million] of the budget surplus for the affordable housing plan.