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LCQ10: Provision of PRH for singletons with disabilities

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (June 4):

Question :

     Quite a number of singletons with disabilities have relayed that as they live in cubicle apartments and sub-divided units without ancillary facilities for the disabled, they encounter inconvenience in their living and are exposed to potential hazards (e.g. difficulties to escape in the event of fire). Worse still, apart from the burden of high rentals, they have to meet various medical and rehabilitation expenses, and they therefore wish to be allocated with public rental housing units (PRH) as early as possible. Yet, like other non-elderly singleton applicants, they have to wait for quite a long time for the allocation of PRH under the Quota and Points System for non-elderly one-person applicants (QPS).  On the other hand, the Hong Kong Housing Authority has put in place the Single Elderly Persons Priority Scheme (the Priority Scheme), under which a shorter average waiting time target has been set for priority allocation of PRH to elderly singletons.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of singletons with disabilities who are currently living in accommodations with appalling conditions (including cubicle apartments, sub-divided units, bedspaces, and so on), together with a breakdown by type of disabilities and accommodations;

(2) of the number of persons with disabilities among the applicants under QPS in each of the past five years;

(3) of the number of singletons with disabilities who were recommended in each of the past five years by the Social Welfare Department for compassionate rehousing and, among them, of the respective numbers of those whose applications for compassionate rehousing were approved and rejected by the Housing Department; and

(4) whether it will, by drawing reference from the Priority Scheme, implement measures to shorten the waiting time for allocation of PRH to singletons with disabilities; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) has put in place an application system for public rental housing (PRH). For general applicants (i.e. family and elderly one-person applicants), our target is to maintain the average waiting time (AWT) of about three years (Note).  For non-elderly one-person applicants, their applications are processed in accordance with the Quota and Points System (QPS). The target of maintaining the AWT of around three years is not applicable to applicants under the QPS.

     If a single elderly with disability wishes to apply for PRH, he/she can apply as a general applicant. If he/she is not an elderly, he/she needs to apply under the QPS. If a non-elderly single applicant with disability wishes to be allocated with a PRH unit as quickly as possible, he/she may consider applying through the Express Flat Allocation Scheme.

     HA has also put in place Compassionate Rehousing (CR) to provide PRH for individuals or families who have pressing housing needs on social or medical grounds.  Under CR, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) recommends cases to Housing Department (HD). HD will immediately arrange for PRH allocation after completion of the normal procedures.  Unless the applicant has special allocation request, such as the need to reside in a particular district/estate, in general HD can offer a PRH unit to the applicant for consideration within a short period of time.

     My replies to the questions raised by the Hon Fernando Cheung are as follows:

(1) and (2) HD does not have the number of single persons with disabilities who are currently inadequately housed, nor have breakdown figures of the non-elderly single persons with disability under the QPS of the past five fiscal years. Nevertheless, we understand that the Census and Statistics Department is conducting the Survey on Persons with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases.  Findings of the survey are planned to be publicized in end 2014.

(3) In the past five fiscal years, the number of one-person applicants with disability who were housed to PRH through CR as recommended by SWD were 63 cases in 2009/10; 81 cases in 2010/11; 58 cases in 2011/12; 54 cases in 2012/13; and 35 cases in 2013/14.  Disabled persons include those who depend on non-temporarily wheelchair for mobility; lost a limb, being tetraplegic, blind, or deaf. HA draws up the PRH Allocation Plan annually and we reserved 2 000 PRH units for CR in the past few years in drawing up the PRH Allocation Plan.  We have to stress that this is only a guiding figure for the allocation work and is not a quota. Our policy is that for any CR cases recommended by SWD which meet other eligibility criteria for PRH, we will arrange for allocation and this is not subject to any quota.  As a matter of fact, HD has no refusal record on CR cases recommended by SWD.

(4) As mentioned above, there are various channels in which single persons with disability can apply for PRH, including the CR.  Under CR, single persons with disability may apply through the Integrated Family Services Centres or Social Security Field Units of SWD; or Medical Social Services Units of subsidised hospitals; or non-government organisations approved by SWD; or Probation Orders Offices of SWD. SWD will recommend eligible CR cases to HD and HD will arrange allocation of suitable PRH units to the applicants as soon as possible.

Note: Waiting time refers to the time taken between registration on the waiting list and first flat offer, excluding any frozen period during the application period (e.g. when the applicant has not yet fulfilled the residence requirement; the applicant has requested to put his/her application on hold pending arrival of family members for family reunion; the applicant is imprisoned, etc). The AWT for general applicants refers to the average of the waiting time of general applicants housed to PRH in the past 12 months.

Ends/Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:30


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