Councillors have approved early plans to provide government funded homes for single Bahraini women, divorcees, widows and abandoned wives.
The Shoura Council on Sunday backed amendments to 40-year legislation governing social housing, reported the Gulf Daily News.
Dr Mohammed Hassan, secretary of the public utilities and environment affairs committee, said women deserved access to housing services regardless of their status.
“We have added a fifth category to the law that will make single Bahraini women, divorcees, widows and abandoned wives eligible for government homes in line with demands from the Supreme Council for Women,” he was quoted as saying.
“But, due to difference in categorisation, the fifth category will be eligible for an apartment on rent, with guidelines and procedures…issued by the housing minister.”
“The basic income for women should be BD300 ($797) from any source, in addition to details on loans and other financial obligations,” he added, but did not specify to what time period that referred.
“In case of a mental or physical disability related to applicants in the fifth category, or any family member that will live with them, the ministry will be required to have special facilities provided.”
The maximum age of all government housing applicants would be 50, except in exceptional cases.
But housing minister Bassem Al Hamer warned the cost of implementing the changes was too high and called for discussions to be postponed pending a financial study.
“We don't have a figure for what is being proposed by council members to add new [social housing] categories or relax the criteria,” he was quoted as saying.
It was suggested that an entirely new law is needed to provide housing for single women, rather than amendments to an existing one.
The discussions will reportedly continue next week.
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