Iran: more housing costs, more homelessness

Recently, a sharp increase in housing expenses has severely affected Iranian families, intensifying homelessness. Renters, especially young couples, feel this increase more than others.

According to official statistics, the government’s current policy of economic austerity – billed as “economic surgery” – has pushed up rents several times over. As a result, many citizens were forced to live in popular neighborhoods or take refuge in slums, which brought other social consequences.

How much does a family’s housing expenses cost?

According to publications of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the head of the “Relief Committee”, the poverty line for a family of four is 110 million rials [$345]. That’s when the minimum monthly salaries for teachers, nurses and workers only amount to $215, $285 and $150, respectively, based on the official’s information. IRNA news agency in November 2021.

In recent months, the purchasing power of the population has dropped considerably due to the spectacular devaluation of the rial, the national currency, against foreign currencies, in particular the US dollar. Remarkably, Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet added insult to injury in May with the unprecedented rise in the cost of staple foods, including wheat and bread, eggs, chicken and cooking oil .

Iran’s state media, of course, continues to cover up the reality of people’s living conditions, painting a rosy picture to counter social grievances. Citizens feel difficulties and pressure with each passing day.

Indeed, the living conditions in Iran are far darker than portrayed in the fake news. According to the state-backed Supreme Labor Council, a minimum food basket costs at least 90 million rials [$280] for a family of four per month, which means that many people cannot meet their basic needs on official salaries.

In addition to the problems of inadequate remuneration, many workers, teachers, nurses, retirees and other low-income strata have still not received their salaries after several months, leading them to take to the streets or strike to demand their fundamental rights.

Parliament [Majlis] The head of the research center, Babak Negahdari, acknowledged that Iranian families should allocate 60-70% of their income to housing expenses. Therefore, a family with an income of $350 would have to pay between $210 and $245 for housing costs and use the remaining $105 to $140 to pay for other expenses, including food, treatment and clothing.

According to the Ministry of Cooperation, Labor and Social Welfare, around 10 million families live below the poverty line. This means that more than 40 million people, almost half of the population, suffer from acute financial dilemmas.

On March 31, the state Tejarat News The website wrote: “A few months ago, the Social Security Organization reported that at least 30% of Iran’s population lived below the poverty line. Unofficial statistics, however, put that number at 50% of society, or 42 million Iranians.

The upward trend in housing spending

Currently, the average price of one square meter of housing in Tehran has soared by 410 million rials [$1,280]. Economists have said it would take an employee or worker 70 years to buy a house if they received their full salary and had no other expenses, provided the rate of inflation remained stable .

In reality, working families could never own their homes given the current trend in housing spending. On July 2, the public service Setareh-e Sobh Daily wrote: “The price of a square meter of housing has increased by 35% and 7% compared to last year and last month, respectively.

The daily report also reports that housing expenses in Iran are four times the average costs in the world, stating: “Housing costs for Iranian families’ commodity baskets are 60-70%, while these costs are in average of 18% worldwide.

During his presidential campaign, Ebrahim Raisi promised the underprivileged that he would build four million residential units during his four years in office. He named the project “The National Housing Movement!” “. However, he only specified the location of three million fictional units per year in his mandate.

Instead, the regime’s president has brought poverty, recession, high prices, starvation and homelessness to millions of Iranian families. As a notorious mass murderer and designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) ally, Raisi was supposed to help the regime resist domestic crises and international pressure.

However, systematic corruption, the depletion of the regime’s “strategic assets” and the volcanic situation of society have turned against the mullahs. Today, people from different walks of life, especially those who have been hardest hit by Raisi’s policies, repeatedly took to the streets chanting “Death to Raisi” and “Liar Raisi, what is did he deliver on your promises?”

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