HCMC runs out of land for workers’ housing

By Thu Hang   March 10, 2023 | 04:55 pm PT
HCMC runs out of land for workers’ housing
The Thien Phat Company workers’ housing project in Thu Duc City has met so many obstacles that it has not been built yet. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet
Industrial parks and export processing zones in Ho Chi Minh City have no space left to build workers’ housing, while current accommodations meet only 15% of demand.

To date, the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) has completed 16 housing projects that provide accommodation for nearly 21,000 workers.

But HEPZA deputy head Pham Thanh Truc told a Friday conference on low-cost housing development that only 15% of demand had been met there’s no more land left to build more housing on.

In the five-year period 2016-2020, the city built only one 7-hectare workers’ housing project with 1,449 apartments for 7,600 people.

The city is home to 17 export processing zones and industrial parks with 280,000 employees, of whom over 60% are migrant workers.

Tran Doan Trung, standing vice chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Labor Confederation, said more than 70% of workers in the city are migrants who often prefer to rent rooms for short-term stays, rather than buying houses for long-term residence.

He said the confederation spends VND500-600 billion (US$21.2-25.4 million) annually on employee care, and part of this sum can be used to develop workers’ housing or dormitories.

Huynh Thanh Khiet, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Construction, said the southern hub’s demand for rental houses is greater than the demand for buying social housing.

The city currently has 60,470 boarding houses which, meets the needs of nearly 1.5 million workers.

Khiet said the city is building more low-cost apartments for rent, not for sale.

The city plans to build some 7,000 apartments for lease to low-income earners, and 4,500 apartments for workers in the 2021-2025 period. The respective figures for the next five years are 11,600 apartments for rent, and 8,000 apartments for workers.

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