I have now stayed in Japan for two years and the more I stay here, the more I like this country. Among other other things, one thing that I like about this country is that even foreigners can apply for government housing.
For in stance, in Kanagawa prefecture, one can apply for prefectural housing after staying in the prefecture for a minimum of 6 months. The prefecture’s housing office receives applications for vacant houses twice a year – in May and November.
The monthly rent for these houses is very low because they are greatly subsidized by government. As a result, competition for these houses is severe. But one loses nothing just by trying.
Having moved from Tokyo to Yamato city, Kanagawa prefecture in February last year, I was not eligible for the May 2009 application round, so I had to wait for November.
When November finally came, I collected the application documents from Yamato city office. My good friend from church, Keiko Momose, and my lab mates, Momoko Matsushita and Kazushi Okamoto helped me to fill the forms.
Five weeks after posting the forms, I received a letter from the prefectural housing office notifying me that there were many suitable applicants for the houses such that the winners were going to be determined through a lottery.
By God’s grace, I emerged as one of the winners. But that was not the end of the story. They asked me to submit many documents, some of which include copies of national health insurance for all my family members, tax information, statement of my annual income and a certificate from my guarantor.
I was asked to bring all required documents to the Kanagawa prefectural housing office where they also interviewed me to confirm if I really deserved to stay in a government house. The interview was in Japanese. And everything was fine.
Three weeks later, they sent me another letter notifying me that I had been granted a government house. I had to go for orientation and I was expected to move to the new house on 1 April, 2010. I, however, moved in on 10 April, 2010.
I am very grateful to Mr. Takeishi and his wife, friends from church, who allowed me to use their car for moving. I am also very grateful to Mr. Mukaigawa, also from church, who was driving the car on this day. Now, I am settled in the new home. The monthly rent has gone down drastically.
The May application window for Kanagawa prefecture houses is now open. If you are have stayed in Kanagawa prefecture for more than six month and you are interested, I encourage you to apply for these houses. You can collect the application documents and guidelines from your ward office.