How to get affordable housing is the primary concern of many peasant migrants working in Shanghai. Although the central government has issued a series of policies regarding migrant housing in recent years, they are merely rhetoric and incapable to meet migrant workers’ needs. This article aims to interrogate why the public housing policy cannot solve migrant housing problems and what neoliberalism means in housing provision. It is argued that the neoliberal approaches embedded in public rental housing implementation show that the government prioritises public rental housing for the middle class, which is considered important to the economy, and ignores the others. The prioritisation gives rise to the failure of providing affordable housing to peasant migrant workers. Living in safe and affordable housing is vital to their well-being and the sustainable economic growth in urban China. Policy advice is addressed in the conclusion.