Late on Saturday, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport - Abu Dhabi City Municipality (ADM) announced that housing units for low-income workers would soon be introduced to the Emirate, Khaleej Times reported. 

In a statement on the matter, Musabbah Mubarak Al Murar, Acting General Manager of Abu Dhabi's Municipality said: 

"This initiative aims to provide proper and legal options of residential units befitting the financial means of low-income individuals and at the same time open an investment opportunity to owners of commercial properties in Abu Dhabi Emirate."  

According to the municipal statement, the project is also set to "bridge the gap between supply and demand; offer property owners a Return On Investment of about 21-28 percent p.a., save about four million dirhams in the total building cost, and reduce the construction period by as much as eight months." 

Workers will no longer have to live in crowded housing to afford rent

The scheme will be focused on two categories of occupants; the first are low-income workers earning a monthly salary of Dh4,000 ($1089) to Dh6,000 ($1633.) 

For earners in this category, rents would range from Dh1,400 ($381) to Dh2,100 ($571) per month. 

The second category includes workers who earn between Dh2,000 ($544) to Dh4,000  ($1089) a month; rental rates would be between Dh700 ($190) and Dh1,400 ($381) a month.

The newly announced housing facilities aim to solve the accommodation problems of thousands of workers who live in Abu Dhabi. 

Many of them often can't afford high rents and end up illegally sharing apartments or houses in order to split up costs. 

"We don't earn enough to rent a good place with facilities"

In an investigation conducted by The National in 2016, reporters found more than 40 workers living together in a single three-bedroom flat. Each was paying Dh300 ($81) a month in rent.

According to the English-language daily, even though partitioned hallways and shared rooms are illegal in the emirate, thousands of workers have no other option than to live in them.

This possibly explains why crackdowns and awareness campaigns previously led by the Abu Dhabi municipality, failed to deter workers from living in crowded flats. 

Speaking to The National at the time, Pakistani worker Bakhtawar Khan said: 

“We don’t earn enough to rent a good place with facilities; our income is very low. I know it’s not legal but we don’t have any other option.”

However, with the newly launched initiative in Abu Dhabi, many hope that the issue is now on its way to being solved.