The YEDID NGO to the Minister of Construction and Housing: Single people under the age of 55 who are unable to provide for themselves should also receive rent assistance.
"We believe that the that Housing Ministry's is failing in its duty to provide single people living alone who are below the age off 55 the basic needs of sustenance and adequate housing, when they are
unable to do so for themselves. The current requirement that that they can only receive assistance when their standard of living drops further so they find themselves 'homeless' under the strict criteria of the Housing Ministry in untenable."
"We request that you amend the current rent assistance policy so that individuals under the age of 55 will also be entitled to minimal assistance for housing," Wrote adv. Shani Rabinowitz, (YEDID's legal department in the photo) and Ran Melamed (Deputy Director for Communication and Social Policy at YEDID) to the Minister of Housing Yoav Galant, and his Director General at the ministry - Eshel Armoni. In their letter Rabinowitz and Melamed pointed out that their earlier requests which were submitted during the term of former minister Uri Ariel were not responded to.
"As is well know..", write Rabinowitz and Melamed "the Housing ministry uses three main methods to provide decent housing namely: special loans for buying apartments, public housing which is owned by the government and providing rent subsidies for those renting in the free market. Our request focuses on the third option and specifically that individuals under the age of 55 should be eligible to rent subsidies."
According to Yedid's spokesperson "the criteria to give rent assistance is not legislated in primary or secondary legislation but it is set through internal regulations of the Housing Committee. According to these regulations families are entitled to rent assistance but single people are only entitled if they belong to a specific group, namely individuals above the age of 55, the disabled, the homeless or other specific incidents that entitle someone to temporary rent assistance such as released prisoners and battered women."
"The fact of the matter is that these regulations mean that needy individuals who do not fall into one of the specific categories, although it is clear that they are in serious financial need and living on a "Subsistence Allowance" from the National Insurance Institute or have an income which does not exceed the amount of the Subsistence Allowance, are not eligible for rent assistance from the Ministry of Housing. This is a problem that is unacceptable".
For example someone who is solely reliant on a stipend in the amount of NIS 1600 (after a deduction of health insurance) will not be eligible for rent assistance even though it is clear that someone living on this amount has no possible way to withstand the housing expenses and other essential expenses, even if they live in the least expensive areas in the country.
It should be emphasized that this current practice of the Housing Ministry does not only infringe on the needy individual's right to adequate housing and an adequate standard of living, which is recognized as a basic right with constitutional standing (through the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty), it also results in discrimination based on personal status which goes against the laws and norms of Israel as a democratic state.
"We believe that the ministry failure to fulfill its obligation to provide adequate housing for individuals below the age of 55, who are not able to provide for themselves, creates an absurd situation where these individuals only receive assistance when they situation becomes so severe that they meet the Housing Ministry's strict definition of homelessness."