JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
The Jewish Agency’s $573 million budget for the 1971-72 fiscal year is based on an expected immigration of 50,000 persons, according to an Agency statement. But according to some informed forecasts, immigration may turn out to be higher. That estimate is reflected in the allocations for immigrant absorption–$36 million–and for immigrant housing–$193 million. The latter is the largest single appropriation in the budget.
By far the largest slice of the housing budget–$176 million–is earmarked for the construction of approximately 15,000 apartments for immigrants. The apartments will be bigger and better than in previous years because experience over the past two decades has shown that substandard housing tends to turn quickly into slums and that their occupants tend to migrate to the larger cities. Those tendencies would defeat the very purpose of the immigrant-housing, policy, which is to disperse the population across the entire nation. Therefore, apartments that used to have only 105 square feet of floor space in the mass-immigration days of the early 1950s and were later enlarged to 197 square feet will now measure 328 square feet–and in the cases of large families, 394 square feet.
These houses are not given to immigrants free of charge. They have to buy them, though on very easy payment and mortgage terms. A $14 million fund has been set aside for rental subsidies to immigrants who have to live in areas where immigrant housing is unavailable. Such immigrants must have some means of their own, but can obtain subsidies of up to $286 a year per family.