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May 24, 2024 / 13:54

Workers want easier conditions for affordable housing

Hanoi government promises to soon resolve all the troubles that workers across the capital are facing.

Workers in Hanoi want easier policies to be released soon so they can buy affordable housing. This was heard at a meeting between city authorities and local workers at the Thach That-Quoc Oai Industrial Park on May 23.

Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Tran Sy Thanh (left on the table) hosts the meeting with workers at the Thach That-Quoc Oai Industrial Park. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

Nguyen Van Nam, an employee of Dong A Paint JSC and a member of the Gia Lam District Labor Union, said there have been no new affordable housing projects for industrial park workers since the first one was built and put into operation in Gia Lam District's Dang Xa Commune.

"Many couples and workers have rented houses to live in. We need more social housing projects as well as financial support to afford a home," he said.

Nguyen Thinh, a worker from Binh Steel Structure JSC, and Phan Chi Thanh from Canon Vietnam Co., Ltd demanded that the city government soon issue the policy regulating the development of social houses, and resolve the administrative obstacles for workers to benefit from those projects.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen, a teacher at Co Dong Secondary School in Son Tay City, said the city's labor union has a loan program for poor workers throughout the city to expand their home-based businesses.

"However, the credit limit is low and cannot meet our needs for economic development. We hope that the Hanoi branch of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies will provide us with low-interest loans so that we can buy and rebuild houses," she said.

Huyen also highly recommended that the municipal government and local banks offer new concessional loans with flexible tenures, thus enabling them to buy cheap houses.

According to Nguyen Huy Khanh, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Labor Union, Hanoi is home to 11 industrial and processing parks, including the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, with more than 660 enterprises and 167,000 employees.

Acknowledging the lack of low-cost housing for local workers, Khanh said only Thach That-Quoc Oai, Thang Long, and Phu Nghia industrial parks have social housing that meets 20% of market demand.

"In other areas, there is no affordable housing for workers. About 80% of them now live in rented housing, where safety and sanitation are substandard and household expenses are high."

There is also a lack of public facilities such as kindergartens and schools, community centers, sports and entertainment areas, he said.

"It is also unreasonable to require workers from other localities to have Hanoi household registration books before sending their children to school. It costs them more time and money," Khanh added.

The official said the Hanoi government has provided more than VND194 billion (US$7.6 million) worth of rental loans for the aforementioned individuals, instructed local authorities to finance part of the housing costs of industrial park workers, and worked with businesses to build more social housing.

Vo Nguyen Phong, Director of the Hanoi Construction Department, cited several difficulties and challenges in building affordable housing for workers, including time-consuming administrative procedures and confusing rules for renting and buying homes.

"Hanoi has sought the opinion of the Ministry of Construction to amend the Housing Law and other regulatory documents to remove obstacles, simplify administrative work, and speed up social housing projects," he said.

"Affordable housing development is also highlighted in the draft of the amended Capital Law, which is now being reviewed by national legislators with the expectation that it will be approved this year."

The city People's Committee has asked district-level agencies to improve the screening of home-purchase applications to disqualify those who seek to profiteer from the projects, Phong said.

Tran Sy Thanh, Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, stressed that housing is an essential need for all workers in the city. "Only when you've settled down can you prosper."

The city leader admitted that Hanoi has lagged behind in developing social housing projects due to administrative work.

He asked the Construction Department to work with the municipal and local authorities to remove all bottlenecks soon so that more social housing projects can be inaugurated.

"In 2024 and in the years to come, we must begin the construction of social housing projects as planned. We must see this as a debt we owe to workers across the capital," he said.

"Once the amended Capital Law is approved, we will have certain powers to process and proceed with several social policies, including the provision of financial packages for workers to buy low-cost houses," the mayor said.

 A worker speaks out at a meeting about affordable housing for industrial park workers. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times