Exceptions Committee Preconditions, Regarding Public Housing Eligibility
The Ministry of Construction and Housing Exception Committees are a central route for recognizing eligibility for public housing. They discuss all cases in which the applicant does not meet the standard conditions for receiving a public housing apartment and approve a significant portion of the applications. Until August 2022, the committees would discuss each application in accordance with its circumstances, yet then the Ministry of Construction and Housing changed the procedures and established preconditions to submit applications to the committee: the applicant or a family member must have a permanent medical disability.
Consequently, those who either lack a permanent disability firsthand or among their family unit, may not apply to the Exceptions Committee in pursuit of entitlement to public housing. Should they submit a request, it will be rejected outright without discussion.
On December 13, 2022, we submitted a petition on the matter to the District Court in Jerusalem, requesting that the court order the Ministry of Construction and Housing to rescind the preconditions for public housing eligibility. We claimed that the Ministry's new policy violates the rights to housing and equality among individuals experiencing extremely difficult living circumstances who seek to be heard before the committee. We claimed that permanent disability can constitute a relevant distinction that justifies the prioritization of one person over other eligible individuals living under similar circumstances, yet it cannot serve as a relevant consideration for the mere possibility of appealing to the Exceptions Committee. With disability as a threshold criterion, various applicants’ challenging situations are solely differentiated between on the basis of their disability, while undermining all other considerations and life circumstances, including the degree of poverty, state of homelessness, economic constraints, family size, cases of violence and abuse that left some family members without shelter, medical and mental conditions that do not meet the criteria for permanent disability, etc. All such considerations, among others, may not be heard or examined by the committee whatsoever, as individuals cannot even submit an application.
On May 14, 2023, the court rejected the petition, deeming no grounds for intervention regarding Ministry of Construction and Housing policy.
22.12- 28198 Association for Civil Rights in Israel v. The Ministry of Construction and Housing
Attorney: Ra'ut Sha'ar.
Response from the Ministry of Construction and Housing, April 2023 (Hebrew)
Main argument on behalf of the appellant, May 2023 (Hebrew)
The Verdict, 14.5.2023 (Hebrew)
The appeal was written with the assistance of the intern, Ofek Azoulay.