HCMC to build million low-cost homes for workers

By Huu Cong   October 12, 2021 | 05:31 am PT
HCMC to build million low-cost homes for workers
Huynh Van Son and his wife, two migrant workers in HCMC, have instant noodles for dinner in a 15-square-meter attic they rent in HCMC, August 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
HCMC plans to build a million low-cost homes for workers and other poor residents, replacing old apartments and dilapidated neighborhoods.

Phan Van Mai, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, said Monday that the city still has many cramped neighborhoods where workers live in small spaces. Before the pandemic hit, such neighborhoods were used as rest stops after a long day at work. But due to social distancing measures, prolonged periods of being confined within narrow spaces for months had severely impacted people's mental and emotional health, he said.

"The city has received a large number of workers to build and develop the city, but we haven't invested in caring for them to the extent they deserve. We will do better in the future," Mai said.

As such, the plan for HCMC's economic recovery includes construction of low-cost homes for workers and other low-income people, he added. Further details of the program would be available at the end of the week, he said.

"The city will build homes at the lowest possible prices so they are accessible for workers and replace old apartments and houses near canals, improving the conditions of neighborhoods," Mai said, adding that District 7 has already proposed certain locations where such homes could be erected.

Mai also said while the city has tried its best, it was not easy to cover absolutely everyone in a population of over 10 million in terms of pandemic relief measures.

"Every day, I still receive dozens of phone calls regarding social security issues not being addressed," he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also orphaned children and left old people on their own, so the city needs to have policies to help those who've lost their loved ones and help them recover emotionally.

Admitting that prolonged online lessons would not be very effective for primary school students, Mai said that the city cannot take the risk and let them resume offline classes while the pandemic still raged. Students are expected to continue with online lessons for the first semester, and offline classes can happen in the second semester if the pandemic is brought under control, he added.

On Covid-19 vaccination for children, Mai said the city has already requested the Ministry of Health to let children be vaccinated early, at least those most at risk, so they can return to school.

The health ministry said Monday that it plans to release guidelines on Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 12-18 before Friday.

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