Affordable housing is one of the main goals of the government's policy of building a housing security system. In the last five years, 270,000 low-income families have been given access to low-rent housing.
It appears that low-income families just can't affor the high rent in the cities they live. And many live with less than 10 square meters per person, far below the 27 square meters per capita average set in 2004. Relief could be on its way, thanks to the government's low-rent housing project.
In Shuangliu county, Sichuan province, over 280 low-income families have received keys to their low-rent homes. Zhang Shiyuan is one of them. His wife has been seriously ill for years and his 18 year old daughter is still at school.
With his monthly income of 500 to 600 yuan, the family lived in a house that was less than 30 square meters. Under recent changes, they were able to move in a bigger house that's 57 square meters.
Zhang Shiyuan said, "The rent is around 60 yuan. I can afford it, yes, absolutely. I never thought I could live in such a house. Now I have the chance. I feel satisfied with the change."
Since 1998, the government has highlighted the need for more affordable housing and invested more than 15 billion yuan in the housing security system.
Vice Minister of Construction Qi Ji said, "The strength of the housing sector is directly related to raising the standard of living and improving the quality of life. Therefore, it is very important to solve the housing difficulties of low-income families. The goal is for the housing security system to cover low-income families by 2010."
The central government has urged provincial authorities to provide preferential capital, tax and land policies to support the development of low-rent housing. They are also asking the provinces to take measures to curb runaway housing prices.
The government's low-rent housing system aims to provide affordable housing for the urban poor. But due to the large numbers who need help, it will take time for the government to meet its goal of providing housing for all low-income families.