CAIRO: Hundreds flocked to the Housing and Development Bank’s branch in Al Bahr Al Azam Street in Giza to apply for apartments in Sixth of October City offered through the National Housing Project.
Tens of applicants hoped to enter the lottery for the 5,000 housing units available in the third phase of the project.
The flow people started as early as 6 am. Gradually, the crowd grew bigger – more than the small grounds of the bank could hold – causing a major traffic jam, newspapers reported.
Only a small side window was dedicated to receiving applications, forcing applicants to use whatever means possible, even climbing up the pipes and on each others’ shoulders to reach the second floor window.
Due to lack of organization, overcrowding and heat, a few people fainted.
Pictures which ran in El Youm El Sabea weekly newspaper showed people stuck between the crowds and the fence surrounding the bank, while others were holding on to second-floor windows as they hung over the crowds.
The Ministry of Housing, the National Housing Project and the bank did not answer calls from Daily News Egypt at press time.
The National Housing Project was launched in 2005 by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development with an estimated budget of LE 25 billion. It aims to provide 85,000 housing units annually for low income youth. The project ends in 2011.
Eligible applicants should be between the ages of 20 and 50 with a monthly income of a minimum LE 640 and a maximum LE 1,000. They are required to pay LE 5,000 on application to reserve the unit and LE 160 in monthly installments over 20 years, subject to 7.5 percent annual increase.
According to news reports, several applicants complained that a minimum salary of LE 640 was required, saying it was an unrealistic number for a young or new employee.
According to press reports, more than 145,852 citizens applied in the project, 44,434 of them for apartments in new cities and 101,418 in different governorates. The number of finished and delivered units has reached 54,339.
The project also provides land pieces of 150 square meters on which citizens can build their own homes under the “Build Your House national project. Ninety-two thousand citizens have applied for this program to date, but many of those who have secured the land complain from the prohibitive cost of rising construction material.