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Workers in dire need of housing

Update: November, 13/2015 - 09:45
A typical layout of cheap for-rent houses for workers in Thu Duc District, HCM City. Demand for housing among low-income earners, particular workers at industrial zones, is huge in Viet Nam. Many workers are living in slum houses with high rents, hoping for more stable accommodation. — VNA/VNS Photo Cao Thang

HA NOI (VNS) — In five years, about one million low-income workers across the country will be in need of cheap housing, said Chairman of the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations, Tran Ngoc Hung in a conference.

A policy conference regarding social housing for low-income workers was held last week by Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour and Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations (VFCEA) in Ha Noi.

"Meeting housing demands for low-income workers is an increasingly pressing task," said Hung.

There is a big gap between housing supply and demand, and the rate of new housing development is not enough, said construction ministry officials.

While the demand for cheap housing is huge, supply is limited and currently available is still very difficult for low-income workers to afford. Buying one of these low-tiered apartments is still quite costly, ranging from VND5 million-1 billion (US$22,400-44,800 each), said Hung.

Not only is the available housing too expensive for many, the housing low-income workers find is also very small. According to the construction ministry, currently there are more than one million small-sized homes registered throughout Viet Nam that are less than 30sq.m in size.

Therefore, a majority of workers had to rent houses from local residents, often small spaces with poor sanitation, which then badly affected workers' health, said the ministry.

There is a total of two million workers working in industrial and manufacturing zones nationwide, 70 per cent of which are migrants from neighbouring provinces and therefore require rental housing. Yet, only 7-10 per cent of these migrants lived in houses funded by the Government or their employers, according to deputy head of socioeconomic policy department, Vu Hong Quang.

Solutions

Deputy Director of Ha Noi Construction Department, Nguyen Chi Dung, suggested that the construction ministry issue a compulsory design for social house and make stricter punishment for those who illegally purchase or sell social housing to make undue profits.

Meanwhile, Quang from the ministry proposed that the Government issue a resolution to bolster preferential long-term policies for social housing developers, and that localities should make land available and attractive for enterprises interested in investing in social housing and infrastructure.

The government should offer more cheap leasing options and instalment plans for low-income workers to better afford cheaper housing, said Hung from VFCEA.

He added that they should be allowed to borrow money at lower interest rates around 0.5-1 per cent with a 20-year loan period.

A worker of the DeaYun Company based in HCM City, Tran Duy Bien, said workers had to live in slum houses with high rent and hoped they would soon be able to realise their dream of creating a stable and prosperous life in HCM City. — VNS

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