New Department Drafts Low-Income Housing Plan

The Ministry of Land Management’s newly established general department of housing has begun drafting a plan that would allow the government to build houses and sell them to low-income families that could not otherwise afford them, a ministry spokesman said Sunday.

“We will offer the houses with a low sale price to poor families, or we will give them away for free, depending on the conditions of the people,” said Seng Laut, the spokesman.

Mr. Laut said the housing department, which was formed in December, was still in the early stages of formulating its plan and had not decided where the houses would be constructed or how much they would cost.

“We have not yet fixed the price for the houses because we are now studying and collecting data in order to understand how many people need the houses and how much [money] would be acceptable,” he said.

Sia Phearum, executive director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said he welcomed the plan, but emphasized that the government-provided houses would need to be priced below market value—particularly in Phnom Penh.

“We already know that the [housing] market in the city is only in reach for middle-income people. But if the government builds the houses and sells them for less than $30,000, I think that would be a good policy,” he said.

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