Although the government made housing policy the “highest priority” and worked hard at creating space for and constructing both public and private residential units, residents still find it extremely difficult to receive a housing unit in due time. High rents and residential unit prices have not only affected the business competitiveness of Hong Kong, as housing expenditures per capita have risen, working and middle class Hong Kong people have seen their earnings and savings slowly get whittled away by such high housing prices. If this continues, the gap between rich and poor will continue to widen.
On top of this, in recent years old residential buildings have continued to show their age and building maintenance and management for these older buildings is becoming an issue. There is a lot of demand for this, but the standards for this are still disputed. The government has to proactively step in, take active measures against bid rigging and help building owners maintain and manage their buildings. In the coming days, the government will announce their new policy address, in which we hope the government will proactively solve the following issues:
1.Amend the target housing supply projection of the [Long Term Housing Strategy], enact methods to achieve the goal of reducing the Public Housing waitlist to three years, and guarantee that the goal of the LTHS is eligible with the goal of a three-year waitlist for Public Housing.
2.Proactively increase the Public Housing supply in the short term, to reduce the waitlist to three years.
3.Roll out a strategy for rent subsidies in order to tide over families on the waitlist. This will allow those on the waitlist longer than three years to ease their burden when paying rent for private housing.
4.Establish more platforms and communicate with society to find ways to increase the land supply. This can include land reclamation outside Victoria Harbour, developing caves and underground spaces, developing land with low intrinsic value, no vegetation and wasteland, and developing “green belts”, “farmland” and “brownfields.”
5.Improve the property ladder by adding housing units and heavily promoting “sandwich class” housing and the TPS in order that more residents could benefit.
6.Establish Maintenance Authority Bureaus for high-rises, give building owners engineering consultation and tendering services in order to prevent the work being rigged and manipulated.
7.Press for the 3rd round of “Operation Building Bright”, help improve the safety and aesthetics of apartment buildings.
8.Revoke the assets and income limits from the [Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners] in order that more seniors may benefit from the scheme.
9.Optimize the implementation of the “Pilot Scheme on Improvised Hose Reel System”, including adding spots for implementation, and loosening the restrictions on buildings to six storeys in order for more tenants to have the ability to pump water from street-level fire hydrants.
10.Invite the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to implement the [Fire Safety Full Support scheme], allowing tenants to access professional staff and special funding to meet the legal advisory, administrative and fiscal standards for the [Fire Safety (Buildings) ordinance].
News Inquiry: DAB Legislative Councilor and speaker of the Housing Panel Wilson Or Chong-Shing 9546 6221