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221 Cities Provide Subsidized Housing to Lower-income Families

About 76 percent of Chinese cities at or above prefecture level have established mechanism to provide government-subsidized housing to lower-income families, the Ministry of Construction said.

The ministry said at its Web site Monday that by the end of 2005, 221 of the 291 cities at or above prefecture level have put this into practice and 329,000 families have benefited from it.

Among them, 29 percent of the families received rental subsidies, 14 percent was allocated government-owned or rented houses, and 55 percent had their rentals cut by landlords, the ministry said.

Eleven Chinese regions, including Hebei, Zhejiang, Shanxi and others have established the system in all their cities at or above prefecture level.

China began to provide subsidized houses to its lower-income urban residents in 2003.

The ministry urged cities that have not established the system to act quickly and called for increased government spending so that more poor families could benefit from the arrangement.

(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2006)

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