Nearly two decades after the launch of several housing projects for young people and four decades after the launch of savings housing projects, the General Housing Establishment (GHE) began on January 16 to allocate hundreds of candidate accommodations.
The units were distributed in social housing projects in four governorates: 2,080 youth housing in the Dimas project in rural Damascus, 633 youth housing and savings housing in Aleppo, 160 youth housing and savings in Homs and 160 housing units for young people in Quneitra. .
Assigning accommodation to an applicant means entering into a contract between the applicant and the GHE which determines the obligations of both parties. The contract, which is registered by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, includes the location and description of the accommodation. However, the award does not mean that the construction of the housing is finished or that the delivery date is near. Rather, the contract serves as a title deed as long as the remaining financial obligations are met.
During the allocation process, housing applicants check the lists of names published by various GHE branches. If they find their name on the lists, they must bring their personal documents and a so-called housing “assignment book” to an “assignment session”, the date of which is set by the GHE. During the session, the applicant can choose the location of the apartment they want. When part of the housing payment is made, the contract is then signed and officially registered by the Ministry of Works and Housing. Applicants have the right to designate someone to act on their behalf during these steps. Those who do not attend allocation sessions receive any remaining housing in a given project. The allocation is canceled for those who do not complete these steps within the time limit.
GHE’s initial announcement for the launch of its various social housing programs was usually accompanied by three main pieces of information: the location, the implementation schedule and the estimated cost of the resulting housing units. However, these three points are not legally binding as they are simply part of a preliminary announcement and are generally subject to change. In the meantime, the housing allocation contracts do not impose any deadline or financial obligation on the GHE.
It remains unclear whether the GHE has already fully implemented social housing projects within the originally announced timeframe. For example, the underwriting for youth housing in the New Dimas project has been completed since 2004 and the units were due to be handed over to applicants in 2016. Years after this target date, GHE has only just invited applicants who have paid their contribution to attend the allocation sessions and participate in the allocation process. It should be noted that once again the time between the allocation and the handing over of the accommodation has not yet been determined.
The Ministry of Works and Housing said in March 2021 that it would complete all ongoing social housing projects by the end of 2024. However, the director of GHE backtracked on this statement, saying in October 2021 that the body would complete the allocation for all. applicants for housing by the end of 2024. In other words, 2024 would see the completion of the allocation process rather than the handing over of completed housing, which means that there is no longer a clear deadline for candidates receive their accommodation.