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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
27 September 2005

America Supports More Housing Loans for Gaza

GAZA CITY: The long-awaited housing loan made an enormous difference for Ismail Hamouda's family. The family lived on the ground floor of an ancient house lacking a functional kitchen, doors, tiling, and bathroom. Hamouda is a fifty year old foreman with five children who received a $4,000 loan from the Community Housing Foundation (CHF) on 28 May 2005.

The loan enabled Hamouda to repair the plumbing, tile the floor, fix the electrical connections, and install new doors and windows. Hamouda said, "We have lived in this miserable house for more than 10 years. My children, especially since they are handicapped, couldn't move easily around the house and were suffering so much. No bank would give me a loan because I work in the private sector. Finally, I applied for a CHF loan and with this loan I was able to improve my house and improve my family's life."

The tremendous success of the Community Housing Foundation will be extended to another 250 families in Gaza this year, a gift from the American people. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has financed CHF loans in the West Bank and Gaza since 2001. Loans provided to some 1,800 Gazan residents during the last three years, with a solid repayment rate of 98%.

CHF-USAID loans have improved the lives of many Palestinian citizens. About 60% receive loans for new residences, and the remaining loans are for home improvements. The average borrower has an income of $930 and receives a loan of $4,700.

Policeman Nassem Kheil is a typical loan recipient. With a family of thirteen and a monthly income of $375, he could not afford to improve the semi-finished two bedroom dwelling. His pregnant wife gave birth in the unfinished house. The $4,600 CHF loan enabled Kheil to finish the house, install doors, bathrooms, and a sewer connection. "Now my baby and my four kids are living in a healthy environment in a safe, finished home."

Kheil's story is reflective of many CHF loan recipients. This program stimulates local banks' interest in providing credit to low income borrowers by sharing in the loan capital, and thus sharing the credit risk. With CHF sharing both cost and risk, private banks are more willing to serve low-income Palestinians.

USAID has spent more than $1.7 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance.

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