KUALA LUMPUR: Youngsters from the lower-income (B40) bracket who are finding it hard to find affordable accommodation in the city have been offered a lifeline via Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) upcoming micro-housing facilities.
Once completed, the first of two phases will offer a pair of seven-storey shophouses at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR).
The first phase, expected to be completed by the end of this year, will house 190 tenants while the second phase, to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, is expected to cater to an additional 135 people.
The partly-furnished units, which can house three to seven people, can be rented at RM100 a month per person.
KL Mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said the units are chiefly for single Malaysians aged 18 to 28, earning RM2,000 or below and working within a 25km radius of the facility.
“Registration for the first phase should open by August. Tenants have a choice of signing a tenancy for one year or 18 months. They cannot exceed this term because we need to rotate the units for the benefit of as many young and struggling Malaysian workers.”
He said no maintenance charge would be imposed even though the RM200 and RM100 collected as deposit and rental, respectively, cannot cover costs including the RM5 to RM7 million pumped into remodeling the shop houses.
Nor Hisham said the initiative isn’t about profit but about helping the young B40 group find their footing.
“Rental for prime space in the city is much higher than this. But it’s not about profit. We would like to give them a fresh start by providing them with a roof over their heads until they are ready to stand on their own feet,” Nor Hisham said at the unveiling of the project on Tuesday.
The New Straits Times had earlier reported that shops facing the street at Jalan TAR, measuring 1,760 sq ft, could go for RM300,000 in monthly rental.
The mayor gave examples of youngsters from Kuala Krai, Kelantan who found themselves stranded on the streets because they could not make rent or foot the bill to commute from their rented homes or rooms in the outskirts of the capital.
Nor Hisham also hopes to reduce cases of homelessness in the city with the initiative. He said at least 10 per cent of the 1,500-odd vagrants in the city are youngsters with jobs which pay them less than RM2,000.
Nor Hisham also said City Hall will increase the number of such housing facilities for the B40 group to live and work in the city. He, however, said that this would be based on the uptake of the Jalan TAR pilot project.
He said City Hall has already sifted through areas where there is a high concentration of locals working within the income bracket and has come up with three most likely locations to develop the facilities.
“The areas include Jalan Putra, Jalan Tiong Nam and Jalan Haji Hussein. We also hope that private building owners join us in setting up such schemes.”
He said the aim is to give back to the grassroots who are the backbone of the city, encourage the use of public transportation and resuscitate dying districts within the city.
“We also intend to inject new life into the heart of the city which goes dead after dark and is associated with dimly lit streets and alleys with drug addicts.
“We want to update the streets with good lighting, flowers and proper walkways so that we can connect people safely to stops and stations where they can hop onto buses and take trains.”
Earlier, he said that the facility at Jalan TAR only has space to park motorcycles and bicycles to encourage dwellers to use public transportation.
Meanwhile, the facility has separate blocks for men and women, and also has rooms designated for tenants with special needs. The room units measure 7sq metres each.
The furnishing, appliances and facilities provide are beds, microwaves, pantries, surau, reading corner and laundrette. There would also be a guard and warden to keep the facility and its tenants safe.