Face the Public, on Housing Standards in Gaza
Serious problems undermining the right to adequate housing were reported regarding the project of Tel Al Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City recently built within the framework of â€کHousing Cooperative,, in which groups of professionals were given land to build apartment buildings in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing (MOH).
Number of participants 63 Percentage of women that attended 10% (7 out of the 63).
Key Speakers: Muhammad Qandil, Head of the Cooperatives Department in the MOH.
Fuad Al Shurafa, Director of the Urban Planning Department, Gaza Municipality Ramzi Hamudeh, Director of the Public Relations Department in the Electricity Company.
Percentage of women that spoke-up (8%) Summary of issues raised by the public Although the Tel Al Hawa neighborhood is newly built, it lacks many essential services.
The MOH, municipality and electricity Company are the main violators.
The electricity current is always low, damaging appliances.
The area is also frequently cut off.
Residents have paid all the fees they were requested to pay.
The area also lacks essential sewage, water and road systems, which are available but very low standard The collection of solid waste does not take place adequately.
Heaps of garbage can be seen everywhere in the neighborhood.
Construction standards were not complied with.
In particular, the space left between buildings and the lack of security measures results in dangers on life and safety.
Until the day of the meeting the residents were not in possession of legal documents from the municipality and the MOH for their houses.
The MOH and other parties do not play the monitoring role over housing Cooperatives.
Summary of answers given by the guest speakers The Electricity Company has been dealing with all the housing projects and development zones in this area since October 2001.
A three phased electricity project agreement was signed between the Electricity Company and the MOH, a three-phase electricity project.
Under the agreement the MOH agreed to donate 47% of the cost while the rest of the fund was to be funded by the residents and the Company.
In the first phase of the project, the Company executed the contracted project, but stopped after the MOH did not pay the allocations of the second and third phases.
The Company is ready to start at any time if the MOH takes to implement the agreement.
The Municipality authorized the construction under the condition that the MOH completes the infrastructure and meets the standards of space areas and public institutions.
The construction commenced, however, before meeting its conditions.
Under an agreement between the MOH and the Municipality, the latter agreed to implement all the infrastructure projects.
The MOH agreed to allocate 20% of the total cost of the installations it collects from the residents for these projects.
The MOH failed to meet this obligation.
The MOH contributed to the Tel Al Hawa neighborhood by providing land and the creation of the Cooperatives.
56 Cooperatives implemented their projects and provided houses for 1,120 families.
Without this contribution, these low-income families would not have been able to have these houses.
The MOH is still following the problems in the neighborhood.
There is a need to put the difficult problems before the senior officials in the Ministry.
Planned and undertaken follow-up of issues raised
This meeting was only the first step towards resolving the problem.
Al Mezan Center will contact the officials and ask for information regarding the reasons behind the shortage of their contracted obligations.
Moreover, the Center discussed the possibility of legal intervention on behalf of the residents, especially after two fires started at two buildings jeopardizing innocent lives.
A workshop involving the Minister of Housing, Gaza Governor and Gaza Mayor is planned in July.
Representatives of the area will be present in this activity.
The Center also ensured adequate coverage in the local media on the problem.
Also, a special booklet is being drafted with the Actual improvements achieved, if any
A debate on the problem has started in the MOH.
Oral message were sent to the Center saying that the Ministry is considering redress procedures.
The residents of the area convened to discuss the possibility of electing a local council to be registered and follow the problems.
A few individuals were asked to visit the key speakers the next day with promises to solve the problems they raised in the meeting.
Summary of evaluation forms of participants and speakers
Participants appreciated the Center's intervention and considered the meeting as a productive tool in the follow up of their problem.
They commented positively on the timing of the meeting, the preparation, invitations and the choice of speakers.
Other comments mentioned their hope that the follow up would be considered seriously by the Center so that the problems are tackled.