Housing cooperatives should be used to provide shelter for the poor, according to the deputy chairman of the Vietnam Construction Association.

Pham Sy Liem told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he believed Vietnam could implement models that have been used in Poland and Finland .

He said the housing could be built on a few hectares of land, and the co-operatives would then set up their own administrative boards and hire consulting services and contractors.

The cooperatives would also oversee the building of the houses.

If the process went well, the price of the houses would be 30 percent less than comparable homes, Liem said, adding that current prices were high due to land costs.

The State could provide loans to low-income people, who would pay it back over 10 years, he said.

He said help should be given to buyers rather than builders, who sometimes are unreliable.

In addition, the State could lease houses at a low price by using the rent from leased land.

For other houses that the poor cannot afford, the State could develop preferential loan policies for the poor.

The Ministry of Construction has been collecting opinions on the possibility of setting up a housing fund that would take 1-2 percent of all State government employees' total monthly salary.

Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam said that with the current number of 9 million State government employees, the amount of the fund could reach 10 trillion VND (512.8 million USD) or more.

Liem also said Vietmam should model its housing fund after Singapore , which collects money from people who want to buy a house.

After the potential buyers have put in a certain amount of money (which collects interest), they have the option of paying the full price for the house or borrowing half of the house purchase price from the fund.

According to the ministry's recent figures, 7 million people in Vietmam need to rent or buy a house.

That demand represents a total area of 150 million sq.m, equal to invested capital of 400 trillion VND (20.5 billion USD). /.