Poor Families Receive Homes From the King

Phnom Penh Municipality is offering 80 of the most impoverished families in the city new houses paid for by King Norodom Siha­moni in Russei Keo district’s Khmuoy commune, municipal officials said Monday.

The cost for the 80 houses was paid by the Royal Palace in order to assist the capital’s most impoverished people, said Deputy Municipal Governor Mann Chhoeun.

“Actually, I am not aware of the total cost for the construction but it costs a lot of money,” he said, adding that the 80 houses were built on one hectare of land maintained by City Hall for King Sihamoni.

The recruiting process is underway for the most impoverished families in the Phnom Penh municipal area. Mann Chhoeun said that he would send a list of more than 100 families from various slums and relocation sites to the Royal Palace. From that list the Palace will determine the 80 families who will get homes.

“The King has a kind heart for his poor children and he needs the most impoverished people to get the rights for those nice houses,” Mann Chhoeun said, before referring further questioning to Minister for the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol, who could not be reached for comment Monday.

Khmuoy commune chief Suong Mok said Monday that the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction was in 2006 and the homes were completed by mid-2008.

“The houses constructed were built with good foundations and nice gardens,” he said, adding that each has two stories.

Suong Mok said that since the homes were completed, several workers have been employed to clean and take care of them and the gardens until the families are chosen.

Sem Sam Ath, 42, who was evicted from Tonle Bassac commune in 2002, now lives in Sen Sok relocation site community. She said that she was one of the workers who built the houses being offered by the Palace.

“I only hope that my name will be among other candidates interviewing to get rights to a house,” she said, adding that because she was a former renter in Tonle Bassac her family of six was not given a plot of land at the relocation site where she now lives.

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