Households affected by relocation that encounter difficulties in finding another place to live will receive support from Ho Chi Minh City authorities to buy or rent affordable apartments in social housing projects, according to a plan drafted by the municipal construction department.
In a move greeted with appreciation from poor urban dwellers, the construction department has suggested that the Ho Chi Minh City administration allocate 10,000 social housing apartments to residents who will be forced to relocate under the government’s gentrification efforts from now to 2020.
Displaced families covered by this policy are those who fail to afford an apartment, or are ineligible for compensation for their legally demolished houses, while having no other places to live, Phan Truong Son, a department official, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Families along canals that need refashioning in the city will most likely benefit from the initiative.
The government will help the affected residents by giving them priority or financial assistance in leasing and buying the designated social housing apartments, Son said.
This new re-housing plan diverges greatly from the current one, which simply pays recompense for displaced city dwellers and expects them to purchase accommodation by themselves.
Several apartment projects exclusively for relocated families have been implemented in Ho Chi Minh City, but most of them are lying idle, according to Son.
The metropolis has 4,719 apartments for relocated families, and is constructing 10,642 more by 2020, Son added.
|Stilted houses are seen along the Van Thanh Ditch in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The policy is expected to facilitate the implementation of future relocation projects and ensure that the lives of displaced people in the new living environment will not be worse, said Du Phuoc Tan, an official from the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies.
Tan said relocation efforts were impeded as people whose houses were to be brought down refused to be relocated unless they were given bigger compensation than offered by the government.
Those who obtained the money went to the outskirts to purchase unlicensed housing lots, which created a new slum and hindered local security control, Tan added.
Hopes and doubts
Many residents welcomed the policy, with some expressing misgivings.
“The government’s assistance in buying an apartment is exactly what I’m waiting for,” said Cao Minh Dat, who has been unable to afford a house in Ho Chi Minh City while facing land withdrawal.
Nguyen Minh Tri, 39, said he would be happy to receive a new apartment with the government's help, as authorities intend to clear thousands of families from an urban slum along the Doi Canal in District 8, where he has lived with seven other members.
|Nguyen Minh Tri (foreground) and his family pose for a photo in his house along the Doi Canal in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Tri’s 23-square-meter house has the facade facing the road and the rear overlooking the canal, over which he built a bathroom with a hole in the floor for direct daily disposal of human waste.
His building, with its parts on the bank and over the body of water, looks more stable than many of its neighboring shacks that float completely on the canal, only remaining connected to the shore by wooden planks.
Nguyen Van Khanh has lived in such a structure for 20 years with nine other family members, and usually with chickens kept in a cage.
He remained pessimistic about his future, saying that he cannot purchase an apartment even when the authorities help him buy or lease it, because his family often does not earn enough money for daily expenses.