Management Policy on Social Housing for Unskilled Labours from Rural Areas in Big Cities in Vietnam

Management Policy on Social Housing for Unskilled Labours from Rural Areas in Big Cities in Vietnam

Abstract:
Vietnam has been experiencing rapid population change with rapid urban growth, particularly in the last 15 years. Housing supply in big cities is always a pressing issue, especially for immigrant labourers from rural areas. However, the strategies concerning this issue have been misleading and have not caught up with economic development and the speed of immigration.
In order to cope with this situation, besides the urban housing development strategies, so called "social housing programs" for people who cannot afford to buy a house have been implemented across Vietnam by the Government and have achieved some positive results.
However, in Vietnam "Social housing" only refers to houses for (1) civil/ public servants, (2) students and workers in EPZs, (3) low income groups who contributed a lot to their country's liberation (determined by The Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs), (4) poor people who are legal citizens of the city. The unskilled laborers from rural areas are not eligible for social housing/ are not included in the social housing scheme, because they still do not have the right to complete their resident registration.
Therefore, they have to live in bad conditions in the slum areas which spoil the cityscape and cause difficulties in urban management. These slums are built spontaneously, without land titles and can be destroyed at any time. Despite their contributions e to the economic development of the city, they are considered "second-class citizens", have no legal employment contract and do not get any support from the city government in order to pay for accommodation.
According to the Ministry of Construction of Vietnam, the average living space per person is 16.7sqm/ person in urban areas. However, according to our surveys in Hanoi and Danang in 2010, it is only 2-8sqm/ person for immigrant laborers. They have to rent costly accommodations and cannot access social services.
Meanwhile, migration is inevitable and unstoppable. There should be policies to support housing for immigrants. Budget rental housing in suburban zones may be an applicable and flexible solution. Besides, the definition of "social housing" in Vietnam needs to be changed and legally expanded to include unskilled labourers from rural areas - the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in urban society.

Ms. Le Thi Thuy Ha
Deputy Manager of Division for Urban Development and Architectural Building Research
Vietnam Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning (VIAP)
Ministry of Construction of Vietnam

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