Ulaanbaatar’s first apartment for the blind and visually impaired is nearing its opening in February. Officials stated that the construction work is at 90 percent completion at present.
“Bayangol District staff are working at the Vocational Institute for Industry and Craftsmanship for the Blind, located in 3rd khoroo of our district, as part of ‘One District – One Organization’ measure. We are discussing details of the new apartment being built for those living with visual impairment, mainly the construction process, its quality, and how people can make orders. We will commission the apartment before Tsagaan Sar,” said Bayangol District Mayor S.Odontuya.
Bayangol District is currently focusing on sales of products produced by the Vocational Institute for Industry and Craftsmanship for the Blind. The district mayor was pleased that the district was able to construct the apartment for 90 households with blind or visually impaired members.
“Most importantly, the apartment provides comfortable living conditions for the blind and visually impaired who hardly receive any support from others. Their commute to the vocational institute will become easier when they move into the apartment,” Mayor S.Odontuya assured.
Director of the Center for the Blind E.Boldsaikhan emphasized the importance of housing people living with visual impairment through government investment, explaining that visually impaired people couldn’t afford apartments and that they weren’t included in housing projects and eight percent interest mortgage loan programs.
“Workers at the vocational institute and factory for the blind in Ulaanbaatar can immediately move into the apartment. Those interested in remaining apartments will have to submit applications and some materials to the Mongolian National Federation for the Blind and those who’ve been selected through a council meeting can move in,” E.Boldsaikhan added.
The selection of potential residents will be determined based on living standards, current residence, and employment. Director E.Boldsaikhan underlined that the apartment isn’t privatized, but state-owned and that residents will not pay rent. However, residents will have to pay a small amount of flat fee in addition to their utility bills for their monthly expenses for heat, electricity, cable, internet, and other costs.
The first design for the apartment for 90 households with blind or visually impaired members was developed in 2012 through the initiative of Member of Parliament S.Erdene. While serving as the Minister of Population Development and Social Security, S.Erdene allocated four billion MNT from his portfolio to the project and started the construction work. An additional 850 million MNT was allocated to the project in the 2016 state budget amendment.