The Jerusalem Municipality plans to build new homes in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood in order alleviate the housing shortage experienced by young Jerusalemites.

The Jerusalem Municipality is scheduled to discuss plans to build 900 additional housing units, paving streets and doing additional infrastructure work in the Har Homa neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Tax breaks will be available for new homes in Har Homa which will bring down the cost of housing by thousands of shekels. The Jerusalem Municipality’s Likud Chairman, Elisha Peleg, praising the decision, stating, “Despite the visit by US Secretary of State Kerry in the region, nothing prevents us from starting to build, because it has been proved that freezing building in Jerusalem did not help to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, and only served to worsen the housing crisis in the city.”

Presently, there is a shortage of affordable housing for young people within the holy city of Jerusalem. According to Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, while he is happy that many Diaspora Jews have purchased property within Jerusalem, “the number of Jerusalem homes owned by people in the Diaspora has created a troublesome phenomenon in the city resulting in a shortage of affordable apartments for young people in the city. “

The mayor continued, “In addition, certain neighborhoods feel like ghost towns with large proportion of their residents away most of the year round. According to the data available to us, there are approximately 11,160 such apartments in Jerusalem, 8,000 of which stand empty for most of the year, while about 7,000 young people leave the city every year, mainly due to the shortage of residential solutions.” For this reason, building more Jewish homes within Jerusalem is absolutely essential, in order to give young Jerusalemites the ability to purchase homes for themselves within the holy city.

According to the Jerusalem Municipality, “There is no change in the municipality’s policy within the last 40 years. We continue to build in all city neighborhoods according to zoning plans for Jews and Arabs. In the coming years, we intend to build tens of thousands of homes throughout the city, for the different population sectors.” The Jerusalem Municipality is also working to address the housing shortage of the Israeli Arab community.

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United with Israel