March 6, 2020
DAB Legislative Councillors Wilson OR and Vincent CHENG welcome the Legislative Council Finance Committee’s approval of the $5 billion funding scheme for the transitional housing project to provide a total of 15,000 units within the next three years. They demand the government to take the lead in building transitional housing units and set the level of the rent at 25% of the resident’s income at most.
Wilson OR reiterates that it is irresponsible for the government to only provide funding only and “outsource” the building of transitional housing to NGOs solely. Actually, the government (especially the Housing Authority and the Housing Society) definitely has the financial resources, manpower and experience to build transitional housing units. The quarantine centers with hundreds of units have only took one month to finish, including flattening the land and installing utilities. How is it impossible for the government to build transitional housing? Therefore, Wilson OR urges the government again to directly participate in the building of transitional housing. In the medium and long term, the building of public housing needs to be speeded up to avoid tenants in transitional housing being not able to move into public housing after 6 years.
Wilson OR also notes that the financial resources of NGOs is limited. These NGOs have to run through hoops to pay the upfront construction cost even though the government provides subsidies. Therefore, the government must simplify the procedure of reimbursement of the payment. Also, the scheme should provide an allowance to subsidize the preservation and maintenance costs of transitional housing facilities by these NGOs.
Vincent CHENG estimates that currently there are 100,000 local residents living in subdivided flats and 200,000 living in inadequate housing. Moreover, there may be over ten NGOs participating in building transitional housing in the near future. The government should assist the NGOs to set up a centralized platform for grassroot families to apply for transitional housing.
In terms of the level of rent for transitional housing, Vincent believes that “40% of the Income and Asset Limits for public housing” is too high. For example, the income and asset limit for a family of two in public housing is $18,690, and the upper limit for rent in transitional housing can reach $7,500 which is a 50% increase on the current $5,000 rent for subdivided flats. It is unrealistic and unreasonable. The DAB proposes that the upper limit should not be more than 25% of the tenant’s income or else it would be no different from staying in subdivided flats.
Media Inquiries: Legislative Councilor Vincent Cheng (6373 1979)、Wilson Or (9266 1035)