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January 26, 2010

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Dormitories scheme for young

SHANGHAI should expand its low-rent housing program to ease the pressure of living in the city created by soaring property prices, and at least one member of the city's top advisory body said the budget home program was not "applicable" at the moment.

Xie Rongxing, a member of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, suggested the government expand the program and make it "dormitory-like."

"People should change their mindset that everybody should own an apartment," Xie said.

"For young people, especially those fresh graduates, low-rent housing is a good choice, and the government should enhance support for this program, making budget homes a second priority in coping with the housing problem."

He suggested that Shanghai should build more homes for rent.

They could be as small as 12 square meters, simply furnished, without a kitchen, but public services such as a dining hall and shared bathrooms should be provided in the building or the community.

His plan would be similar to dormitories in college or high school.

"The ideal rental fee is between 300 yuan (US$43.9) and 500 yuan, which young people, even those who have just started work, can afford," Xie said.

The Shanghai government has set a target to supply 300,000 low-rent apartments by 2012.

But it was placed second in the list when the government made the budget home project its top priority.

Lu Peiming, another CPPCC Shanghai Committee member, said the budget home program wasn't applicable at the moment due to potential loopholes in its operation.

"The demand is too huge to avoid mismanagement. There are already cases of cheating in other cities like Beijing and Wuhan," Lu said.

"And the criteria set by the government are a bit impractical."

The budget home fever also produced some cases where people had demanded their employer cut their salary in order to meet the criteria.


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