The housing crisis in Bahrain has hit a new peak, with new figures suggesting that almost half of all Bahrainis have been on a government waiting list for state-provided housing for around two decades.
According to a government source, an estimated 54,000 requests for government housing are still pending for action. About 45 percent of these requests were lodged in 1993 when the waiting list was introduced for the first time. According to Khalid Al Amer, Housing Ministry assistant under-secretary for housing policies and services, “the ministry is following a strategic plan to cover old requests by this year in all governorates. It will firstly cover requests dating back to 1993, 1994 and 1995 then the three following years will be answered by next year.” The social housing projects are expected to close all old housing applications on the waiting lists before 2016.
The housing crisis in the country has only aggravated in recent years as the number of requests for new homes has increased from 4,000 to 6,000 per year. The government of Bahrain has embarked on an ambitious program to meet the housing shortage in the country. Around 6,000 housing units are expected to be completed within the next six months. The authorities are also involved in constructing several thousand new houses, villas and apartments on the island.
Some of the key new housing projects are located in the Northern Town, Dar Kulaib, Al-Malkiya, Zallaq and Hunainiya. Covering an area of 740-hectare, the Northern Town project includes 15, 762 units -9904 flats, 5352 houses and 506 plots. All projects include modern facilities such as trade outlets, power substation, water treatment station, shops, restaurants, mosques and open spaces.
Over the past two years, Bahrain has been troubled by political unrest as the majority Shia Muslim population has protested against Sunni-dominated rule. These social housing projects are expected to quell social discontent and improve government ratings in the country.