Let all Chinese live in peace and contentment (3)

16:41, September 22, 2009      

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Low-income housing is a primary task: We have the required conditions and the ability to achieve the goal of "housing people."

"Low-income housing and commercial residential housing are the two parts of the housing system, and both of them are essential." Jiang said that low-income families with housing difficulties is a primary task and a top priority in the current work. "It is an important aspect of China's reform and opening-up that residential housing should be commercialized and marketized. Meanwhile, commercialization by itself is not enough. The government must guarantee housing for people in financial difficulty."

When the commercialization reform of residential housing was fully launched in 1998, China had already decided that housing subsidies should be offered to families in poverty. However, the targets, range, standards and methods of the subsidies were not made clear until 2007. "Speaking objectively, governments at all levels required time to learn about low-income housing. After all, low-income housing construction is different from commercial residential housing construction. It requires a significant amount of capital and land from the government. Many preferential policies must also be implemented, and it involves the interests of many aspects and reduces the revenues of local governments. Now, the whole system has been made clear, and governments are also capable of greatly strengthening the construction of low-income housing. The top priority now is to finalize the details and carry out the work," said Jiang.

In July 2007, Jiang was transferred from the National Development and Reform Commission to the MOHURD, and the housing condition investigation carried out four or five times a year became a "very important mission" for him. "At that time, we visited many low-income families with housing problems in Fujian, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Shandong and other provinces. Many people were still living in old and damaged houses, some of which were built in the 1930's and 1940's. The houses did not have separate kitchens and bathrooms, some even did not have running water, and rainwater would flow in in wet weather. The functions and conditions of the houses were extremely poor," said Jiang gravely. "There were a lot of situations like that. After I returned from each investigation, I was always thinking about these scenes. After each investigation, I would felt heavier in my heart and my sense of responsibility and resolution would increase."

The large-scale low-income housing project launched at the end of 2008 brought the hope of housing to more low-income families. The low-income housing project program is being developed based on the three-year low rent housing program already released, and will involve economical housing construction and the reconstruction of mining shanty towns, over the next three to five years. According to the standard currently set, in three or four years, the housing problems of 15 million low-income households, accounting for 8 percent of total urban households, will be resolved. Households with a per capita living area of less than seven square meters will have a per capita living area of over 10 square meters, and the functions and conditions of the houses will be significantly improved. I believe that we have the required conditions and the ability to realize the goal of 'housing people'," said Jiang with full confidence.
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