HCMC accelerates social housing projects

After the struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic for a long time, Ho Chi Minh City authorities have realized many shortcomings in housing development for workers, employees, and people with low incomes. Therefore, for the stage of social-economic recovery and development, the southern metropolis has promoted the construction of social housing projects, accommodation houses, and resettlement houses to accelerate social housing projects to help immigrant workers access better living conditions.
HCMC accelerates social housing projects ảnh 1 The first phase of the worker accommodation site in Linh Trung Export Processing Zone 2 has been in use for nearly 10 years (Photo: SGGP)
In recent days, elsewhere in the southern largest city, local administration and investors started several housing projects for workers, employees, and resettlement houses for residents whose old houses were destroyed. Typically, construction of worker accommodation projects in Linh Trung 2 Export Processing Zone, Thu Duc City started on April 25 with pressing test piles.

Administrations of Thu Duc City and Binh Chanh District held a groundbreaking ceremony for the two social housing projects in the city and the district and one resettlement house project at Thanh Da residence comprising 1,750 apartments in Binh Thanh District on April 26. The construction of 52 resettlement apartments at 251 Hoang Van Thu apartment building in Tan Binh District was announced to be completed on April 27.

Witnessing the start of the construction of worker's accommodation in the second phase in Linh Trung Export Processing Zone 2, female worker Bich Ngan of Sap Vietnam Company was filled with excitement. Presently, Ngan and her family members are living in a 35-square meter apartment in the first phase of this worker accommodation. She pays VND2.8 million monthly including VND2 million for the rent and VND800,000 for the cost of electricity, water, and service fees totally. She said this amount is equivalent to renting a room in a residential area, but she prefers living in worker accommodation to enjoy more facilities. 

Her daughter can attend a preschool in the worker dormitory while she and her husband can walk to their company; hence, they can save money on petrol. Just spending a moderate amount of money on the rent, the couple has saved a monthly amount of money over the years to buy a house in the few next years. There is high demand for affordable apartments; thus, Ms. Ngan hoped that the project will be completed quickly so that her younger brother, as well as many workers working in the export processing zone, can live in a good apartment with moderate rent.

The second phase of the worker accommodation at Linh Trung 2 EPZ was built by Thien Phat Investment - Construction - Production, and Tourism Company on an area of nearly 5,000 square meters, including two 12-floor buildings comprising 360 apartments. General Director of Thien Phat Company Nguyen Van Loi said that the apartments ensure ventilation and the rent will be appropriate for workers’ income. 

Also in April 2022, one more social housing project started construction in Long Truong ward in Thu Duc City with 600 apartments. Thus, two social housing projects and one worker accommodation project were built in Thu Duc City to mark the national holiday on the occasion of April 30 this year. The above projects are expected to provide about 2,000 apartments for employees by 2024.

Chairman of Thu Duc City People's Committee Hoang Tung said that through the analysis of social housing needs of employees working in companies in the city, so far, nearly 5,600 people registered to rent and buy social housing.

Prior, the People's Committee of Thu Duc City has issued a written request for a policy to plan three locations for the construction of workers' accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City's Hi-Tech Park with an area of about 90ha which can provide accommodation for more than 80,000 workers and employees. Moreover, at the same time, the city will continue to review the public land fund for the construction of social housing and accommodation for workers.

Similarly, District 7 proposed that Ho Chi Minh City approve nine land plots to build social housing and housing for workers, such as the 15,400 square meter land plot at No. 4 Pham Huu Lau, the 6,400 square meter land area at 261A Lam Van Ben and the land area on Nguyen Van Quy street with 29,700 square meters.

In the above land plots, District 7 is currently building three urban embellishment projects in the Ong Lon river area of about 20.2ha, Ban Don canal area with about 27ha, and Song Tan pond with roughly 24ha to build social housing for residents in 1,300 households which were built along and on these canals. The People's Committee in District 7 has surveyed, adjusted the planning, and invited investors. It is completing the project to submit to Ho Chi Minh City for implementation.

With the determination to improve living conditions for dwellers citywide, the municipal People's Committee has formulated a plan to develop housing in the city between 2021 and 2025 with the expectation to increase at least 50 million square meters of residential floor area. In the plan, the floor area for social housing increased by about 2.5 million square meters. 

In particular, Ho Chi Minh City strives for the area of social housing to lease at least 500,000 square meters of floor space, accounting for 20 percent of the social housing area. Particularly in 2022, the floor area for the construction of social housing will increase by 46,300 square meters with an investment demand of VND698 billion.

According to Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Construction Huynh Thanh Khiet, projects in Ho Chi Minh City will provide over 35,000 social housing apartments from 2021 to 2025. Ho Chi Minh City also asked investors of 33 housing projects with a land area of over 10 hectares in a total area of over 105 hectares for building about 70,000 apartments to reserve 20 percent of the land fund for the construction of social housing. 

The Department of Construction of Ho Chi Minh City has submitted to the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City shortened processes, speeding up the implementation time of social housing projects to less than 6 months to facilitate investors.

Ho Chi Minh City has carried out financial support policies for low-income people who can borrow loans for building houses. Specifically, the Ho Chi Minh City Housing Development Fund (HOF) supports low-income people including civil servants, public employees, and soldiers in military forces who receive salaries from the HCMC budget to borrow money to create separate houses or social housing. The loan limit is VND900 million and not more than 70 percent of the value of the house or apartment. The maximum loan term is 20 years with an interest rate of 4.7 percent a year.

In addition, the Ho Chi Minh City Bank for Social Policies implements a program for people serving in the cause of the nation’s revolution, low-income people, poor and near-poor households, employees working at enterprises to borrow preferential loans to buy or hire social housing. In which, the maximum loan limit is 80 percent of the house value with the maximum loan term around 25 years and the current interest rate of 4.8 percent a year.