189,000 Israeli Families Live in Temporary Housing

The number of households living in substandard housing has gone up dramatically over the past 20 years, according to the 'Homeless Index.'

Roughly 189,000 households in Israel — about 8.5 percent — live in substandard housing, according to the “Homeless Index” published last Monday by the Institute for Structural Reforms. This is the first time the institute, which was established in 2010 by attorney Shraga Biran, has published the index.

According to a statement released by the institute, the statistic means that “189,000 households in Israel live in temporary, improvised structures such as tents or tin huts, in the homes of elderly parents, depend on the kindness of relatives, in the apartments owned by their families without paying rent, or live in buildings that have not been approved for human habitation.”

Institute officials note that there has been a sharp upturn in the number of households that lack proper living conditions. The number has increased from 58,800 households in 1995 to 149,600 in 2008, peaking at 189,000 as of 2012. “These numbers show a sharp rise of 221 percent in the number of households in this situation in less than 20 years. It’s a steep increase from the roughly four percent of all households that lived in substandard conditions in 1995 to about 8.5 percent today,” read the statement.

An analysis of the various types of households surveyed shows that the number of households living in temporary or improvised structures has gone up, and the number of households living in structures such as tents or tin huts, or who live in buildings not approved for human habitation, has increased by a factor of 3.6 compared with 1995: from 20,000 to roughly 71,000 today.

Biran’s proposal seeks to give the residents of 190 distressed neighborhoods, most of them in cities, expanded construction rights, thus allowing poorer populations to purchase housing or pay controlled rent.
 

Alex Levac
A homeless person lays on a dirty stone step in Israel.
Olivier Fitoussi