A social housing project for low-income workers in Dong Nai City. (Photo: dangcongsan.vn) 

HCM City (VNA) - Dong Nai faces a severe shortage of workers’ housing since 60 percent of the southern province’s one million workers hail from other provinces and cities.

Most workers and their families live in a shabby rented room because budget social housing is being built too slowly.

Nguyen Thanh Son is a worker who came from the central province of Nghe An to work at the Hoi Nai Industrial Park in Tran Bom district 10 years ago.

He and his wife have three children. The couple earn 10 million VND (400 USD) a month and can only save 1-2 million USD (45-90 USD) out of that.

His room measures a mere 15sq.m. His children often fall sick because of their poor condition.

“We try hard to save for a house but we cannot because our income is just enough for our daily needs,” Son told Viet Nam News Agency.

His is one of 12 rooms in Bui Chu Hamlet in Trang Bom’s Bac Son commune, most of which are rented by workers from central and northern provinces.

“Owning a house is a very distant dream for us. We used to hear a lot about social housing where workers like us can pay a little every month. But we hear no more.”

A recent survey by the Dong Nai Trade Union found only 8 percent of workers have savings while 72 percent live from hand to mouth.

Due to their low incomes, 62 percent of workers have to work extra time, with most facing financial difficulties and lacking support from their families.

In recent times several companies that hire a lot of workers, like Phong Thái and Chinh Xac Vietnam in Trang Bom district and Chinwell Fastener in Nhon Trach district, have built a combined 65,000sq.m of bachelor housing for 10,000 workers.

“Companies building dormitories for their workers is very good but in the long term workers will marry and need their own houses,” Tang Quoc Lap, deputy chairman of the Dong Nai Trade Union, said.

The Trade Union has called on the provincial People’s Committee to build apartments for workers at 6 million VND (266 USD) per sq.m 2 million VND (85 USD) less than the price stipulated by the Ministry of Construction.

Workers could pay for the houses each month together with low interest, Lap said.

Besides, the Trade Union would ask relevant authorities to fix standards for space, hygiene and rents for rented accommodation, he added.

Nguyen Thanh Lam, deputy director of the province’s Department of Construction, said “By 2020, Dong Nai province will complete 20,000 apartments for workers and low-income people and dormitories for students.”

By 2020, housing demand in Dong Nai would increase to over 80 million sq.m, Lam said.

The province said to provide housing, especially for workers, the Government should provide funding for several projects and have more policies to attract investment in social housing.

In the next three years, another 150,000 rooms are expected to be added around the province for workers and 7,500 apartments in Nhon Trach district.-VNA