|A poor family by Nhieu Loc Thi Nghe canal in HCM City. A recent survey by the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities showed that most low-income people were living in makeshift houses with substandard infrastructure. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh.
HCM CITY (VNS)— Housing for low-income people in HCM City was insufficient, and efforts by local authorities to solve the problem have often failed to work.
A recent survey on low-income households in the city by the sociology faculty at the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities showed that most low-income people were living in makeshift houses with substandard infrastructure. Others were staying with relatives.
At an international conference on the problem on Wednesday and Thursday, the rapidly increasing population was blamed for exacerbating the problem, said Nguyen Thi Hong Xoan, head of the faculty.
"Of the social groups who are in dire need of housing, poor people are the biggest," she said.
There were many low-income residential areas in newly established districts, such as Binh Tan and Tan Phu, Xoan said. But poor living conditions in houses without certificates of land use or ownership rights threatened the health and social lives of low-income residents, she said.
The faculty survey showed that 4.6 per cent of houses in HCM City were only five to 10 square metres. Another 17.8 per cent were 11 to 20 square metres.
Up to 28 per cent of households rely on clean water sources from their neighbours, while 16 per cent still use wells.
"Many have to live around polluted canals, where they release sewage directly into the streams as they do not have in-house treatment system," Xoan said. Many did not use rubbish collectors and others lived in waterlogged situations..
"The poor always suffer the most from air, noise, rubbish and sewage pollutions, so we need suitable policies to improve their living conditions," Xoan said.
A survey conducted by the Department for Urban Management Research under the HCM City Institute for Development Studies found that about 62 per cent of households in the Dong Hung 2 project in District 12, which serves low-income residents, said they could not afford the rent they were paying.
"The results of the survey show that the housing policy, which city authorities have made a great effort to accomplish, has not met its target," said Du Phuoc Tan, head of the department.
The amount of subsidised houses should be increased, said Nguyen Thi Hai Ly, deputy head of the Department of Construction's Urban Development section. The houses are worth less than US$23,800 each.
"Besides creating priority policies for enterprises to build social houses, the city should have policies to encourage the private sector to join in," she said.
The conference was jointly held by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the Viet Nam National University in HCM City, and German NGO Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. — VNS