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  • Recoleta Mayor, Daniel Jadue, at the inauguration of the Popular Real Estate building on Social Justice St.

    Recoleta Mayor, Daniel Jadue, at the inauguration of the Popular Real Estate building on Social Justice St. | Photo: recoleta.cl

Published 30 January 2018
Opinion

A new apartment building will be popping up soon in Santiago, Chile's capital on a street named fittingly named 'Social Justice', which will provide the vulnerable with a dignified home at reduced rent.

A new apartment building will be popping up soon in Santiago, Chile, fittingly on Social Justice Street.

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The apartment building, set to debut in March of next year, is being provided by the government of Santiago’s Recoleta borough, where it will be constructed, and it’s being spearheaded by the borough's mayor, Daniel Jadue.

The building will house 38 of Recoleta’s most economically vulnerable families. The construction is part of the mayor’s newly introduced People's Real Estate program which is enabling low-income residents a decent apartment at a reduced rental price which will never be higher than 25 percent of a person's salary.

Each apartment will measure 55 square meters and include three bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, living and dining room.

Jadue, a Chilean of Palestinian descent and an architect and sociologist by trade, asked local media, “Isn’t the right to a home consistent with the right to live in a dignified manner?”, in regards to the new project.

This is just the next social project in a series introduced by the 50-year-old mayor since taking office in 2012.

Over the past six years, Jadue, a leading member of the Chilean Communist Party (PCC), has introduced several, far-reaching social programs to create a more equitable capital making him one of Chile's most popular mayors.     

In 2015 Jadue implemented the People's Pharmacy - a series of government-run pharmacies with very accessible prices - in the Recoleta borough.

The program was initiated in reaction to the fact that a few private pharmacy chains were ratcheting up the price of medicines and colluding in the process, making it nearly impossible for the average person to afford cures. The program has since spread to over 100 municipalities in the country, including Chile's largest cities.

A year later he implemented a ’People's Optical Store’ to Recoleta, a program that cuts out middlemen and that, to date, has enabled 12,000 people to buy a pair of prescription glasses at cost.

The majority of beneficiaries have been the elderly and young.

In a nod to the elderly, the new building on Justice Street will reserve its first two floors for seniors and will be equipped with a pool and community garden.

Juan Sabbagh, an award-winning architect, designed the building for free saying it was his debt to society.

“We’re convinced this is the only way to transform Santiago into an equitable, homogenous society where several social classes can coexist. We have to create an integrated urban context” Sabbagh says.

The Recoleta government is also planning to add another 90 apartments to an existing condominium project in the borough. Renters won’t ever pay more than a quarter of their income in rent.

Jadue is also working to create government transparency in a Latin American political environment wracked with corruption cases ranked among the highest in the world.

The Communist party leader was re-elected to his seat in 2016 with 56 percent of the vote, and his supporters are eyeing him for the presidency of Chile once he has ended his second mayoral term in 2020.

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