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More let in for low-rent help

THE Shanghai government has once again lowered the threshold for low-rent home applications in its latest effort to have more low-income households benefit from the program.

Starting from October 1st, local families with per capita monthly disposable income of no more than 960 yuan (US$140) and household financial assets totaling no more than 120,000 yuan can apply for low-rent houses.

The previous requirement was monthly income of no more than 800 yuan per capita and household financial assets totaling no more than 90,000 yuan, Shanghai Housing Guarantee and Administration Bureau said yesterday in an emailed statement.

As of October 31, 60,000 families in Shanghai were covered by the city's low-rent housing program, an increase of 180 percent from three years ago, the bureau said.

On a related issue, the local government also announced last week that the city will have a total 6 million square meters of budget homes beginning construction by the end of this year,

This is a program that enables people to buy homes, not just rent them. It's aimed at mid- to low-income families, who can neither afford to buy their own houses on the market nor qualify for low-rent houses from the government.

Under current policy, local families with monthly disposable income up to 2,300 yuan and per capita financial assets up to 70,000 yuan qualify 39 for budget houses.

According to plans announced earlier, the city is to build a total of 20 million square meters of budget apartments through 2012.


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