Tian Mansu held her breath, eyes locked onto the big screen, as the lucky draw was made yesterday. The Beijing woman from Xuanwu District was among the first names to be put forward for an affordable house.
Chen Gang, vice-mayor of Beijing, was at the draw and shouted when the names on the screen came to a stop.
Tian clapped when she saw her name at the bottom of the screen.
"I knew it would be there, But I am still very excited to see it," said the 42-year-old woman from Taoranting Community.
She said she was fortunate to be among the first batch of residents to draw ballots for an affordable house.
Her neighbors from 207 households were also part of the lottery that means they are one step closer to a spacious home.
Taoranting Community was selected to launch a pilot scheme run by the municipal government to decide which households need government help with their housing.
There are around 23,000 households on the community and the city government is trying to identify the most needy.
Zhang Jiaming, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee, said a survey would determine how many people with low incomes were in desperate need of a house by the end of this year.
On Friday the government rolled out two regulations on the management of low-rent homes and economically affordable houses. They give priority to poor residents who are unable to afford their own homes.
Residents that qualify for the scheme will be able to reside in public, low-rent houses or buy an affordable home with the help of a government subsidy.
"It is the government's responsibility to ensure those who are really needy have homes," Vice-Mayor Chen said.
For residents like Tian, who earns 800 yuan ($107) a month at an association for the disabled, a house like this is a dream come true.
She has lived with her ill husband and 18-year-old son at her parents-in-law's house - a shabby bungalow little more than 20 sq m - since her marriage 20 years ago.
Though she has not been given the keys to the new 50 sq m low-rent house she will move into, Tian said she was really pleased.
"For common people like us, our life's dream is a house, a real home," she said.
(China Daily September 29, 2007)