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Rationalisation of public rental housing resources

The following is issued on behalf of the Housing Authority:

     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) Subsidised Housing Committee (SHC) today (October 14) discussed the way forward to maximise the rational use of public rental housing (PRH) resources in light of the recommendations by the Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) Steering Committee and the Director of Audit.

     Following a three-month public consultation on the long-term housing strategy, the LTHS Steering Committee noted in its consultation report published in February 2014 the overall public support for its recommendations to maximise the rational use of PRH resources. It called on the HA to carefully review PRH-related policies to ensure the proper use of valuable PRH resources. The Director of Audit also made a number of recommendations regarding the allocation and utilisation of PRH flats in his report No. 61.

     At today's meeting, the SHC decided to refine the Quota and Points System (QPS) as follows:

- The annual allocation quota for the QPS, starting from 2015/2016, will be increased from the current 8 per cent to 10 per cent of the number of flats to be allocated to PRH applicants on the Waiting List, subject to a cap to be increased from 2 000 to 2 200 units;

- To reduce the inadvertent incentive for early application under the QPS, the scale of age points will be increased from 3 points to 9 points per year of age increase at the time of application;

- QPS applicants reaching the age of 45 will be awarded a one-off bonus of 60 points to offer them a higher priority over younger QPS applicants;

- To enable the HA to have a more realistic grasp of the situation of the QPS applicants and better assess the demand, checking will be conducted on those QPS applicants who have waited for five years but are not yet due for detailed vetting within the next two years;

- Implementation of the refined points system as well as the regular checking of the eligibility of QPS applicants will take effect from February 1, 2015;

- As a one-off arrangement, the points of existing applicants who have submitted applications or have been registered before February 1, 2015, will be re-calculated under the refined system. They can either keep the higher points already accrued under the existing system, or be awarded the differences in points if the re-calculated total points are higher. For those applicants who have passed the detailed eligibility vetting on or before today (i.e. October 14, 2014) and are undergoing the allocation process, their priority for allocation will be based on their points awarded under the new points system, or their points under the old system, whichever enables earlier allocation; and

- As a one-off arrangement, the existing priority of Long Bin Interim Housing non-elderly one-person clearees for rehousing to PRH under the QPS will be retained, so as to facilitate the relevant clearance operation.

     "Most of the prospective applicants will be able to obtain more points under the refined system. As regards the regular checking, it would only screen out those who are no longer eligible for PRH," a spokesman for the HA said.

     The HA will inform all applicants individually of their points in writing after implementation of the refined system.

     The SHC also discussed the enhanced measures and additional incentives for handling under-occupation (UO) households, i.e. households with living space exceeding the prescribed internal floor area according to family size.

     Up to June 2014, out of some 57 400 UO households in PRH estates, some 28 700 households with disabled or elderly members aged 70 or above have been excluded from the UO list. Among the 28 700 remaining UO cases, 6 700 are Prioritised UO cases which the HA will deal with actively.

     There are also 14 100 UO households which have elderly members aged between 60 and 69 and placed at the end of the UO list for transfer and will not be required to transfer until the next policy review. The SHC today agreed to consider the proposal of excluding such households from the UO list in the next policy review in 2016.

     The SHC also discussed whether the existing Housing Subsidy Policy and the Policy on Safeguarding Rational Allocation of Public Housing Resources, commonly referred to as the "Well-off Tenants Policies" (the Policies), should be refined in order to maximise the rational use of PRH resources.

     "Members have considered various preliminary options to refine the Policies. Since every option has its own merits and downside, no decision has been taken yet," the spokesman said, stressing that a prudent approach should be adopted in any review of the Policies.

Ends/Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:33


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