|Kiryat Shmona to offer affordable housing for students|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
Two years ago, SHATIL began to cooperate with students at Tel Hai College to address the pressing socio-economic challenges of the Galilee. SHATIL actively works to foster values of social justice among young adults in northern Israel, a region all-too-often neglected by the country's policymakers. This week, the collaborative efforts of SHATIL's northern staff and Tel Hai College's student union paid off handsomely: the Israel Land Authority and Nissim Malcha, the mayor of Kiryat Shmona, announced a pilot program to secure affordable housing for students.
The shortage of affordable housing in the Kiryat Shmona area, due in part to rising rents, has placed an excessive burden on Tel Hai students. "When we got together with the students to examine the situation, we discovered that the College receives a steady infusion of capital, which allows it to keep growing. The situation is very different, however, when it comes to housing, employment and transportation," says Lev Aran, a SHATIL community organizer. "We also identified certain public policies that contribute to rising rental prices," he adds.
The Tel Hai student union took the initiative and, in collaboration with SHATIL, led an effective advocacy campaign. The union mobilized the country's National Student Union, participated in committee discussions at the Knesset, and met decision-makers at the relevant regional and national institutions. Following the recent announcement, Aviad Rosenfeld, head of the student union, noted the commitment of SHATIL's northern staff: "I want to thank you for your assistance and support in the housing campaign. It was certainly not a foregone conclusion that we would succeed, and I am delighted that we did."
SHATIL's work in Tel Hai is part of a renewed effort to advance equitable employment and housing policies, and to motivate young adults to play a greater role in the campaigns to advance social justice and safeguard democratic values.