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EghtesadOnline: The state commission for infrastructure-related affairs has approved the annual construction of 100,000 housing units for low-income groups in the framework of Social Housing Plan, announced the housing deputy at the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.

“The implementation of Social Housing Plan was approved in the government’s Infrastructure Commission and then sent to the Cabinet for verification,” Hamed Mazaherian also told Fars News Agency.

He added that as part of the plan, 100,000 housing units will be constructed annually over five years and 70,000 homes will be built by the end of the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2017).

Mazaherian had previously described all measures taken by the government to provide homes for low-income families, including schemes implemented since the 1979 Islamic Revolution such as lease-to-own or rental assistance programs and Mehr Housing Plan, to fall under social housing.

In his latest remarks, the deputy minister said the plan aims to build a total of 570,000 housing units for low-income groups, of which 70,000 units will be built by March 2017 and 100,000 units will be built annually for five consecutive years.

That is while the government still has to complete the Mehr Housing Plan and many officials, including Mazaherian, have repeatedly stated that the administration is intent on wrapping up the controversial project started by the previous administration.

In fact, he blames it for the delay in implementing the Social Housing Plan, although the tenure of the incumbent government ends in May 2017.

“That is why all the budget and resources have been allocated so that the [Mehr] plan can end sooner and other schemes, which aim to support low-income families, can be implemented,” he had said.

Mehr Housing Plan faced major funding problems when the administration of President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013 and became a major quandary for the government struggling with a mountain of economic challenges. The scheme has also been criticized for lacking the infrastructure needed for offering a reasonable standard of living.

According to Mazaherian, the Social Housing Plan has currently the full backing of the Infrastructure Commission, whose members include the ministers of energy, roads, agriculture and oil, as well as two presidential deputies, Financial Tribune reported.

“It will probably be reviewed and approved by the Cabinet within the next two weeks,” he added.

On the other hand, Javad Haqshenas, the deputy for urban affairs at the Housing Foundation of the Islamic Revolution–the entity in charge of the Social Housing Plan–says it is still too soon to firmly comment on the plan, as funds have not been allocated.

“We must let the plan get ahead a bit, until we can comment on it,” he said.

Iran cabinet Iran Housing