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LCQ9: Residential care homes for the elderly and elderly housing
     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Han-pan and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, in the Legislative Council today (April 19):


     The 2022 Policy Address has proposed to provide more incentives to encourage developers to build elderly service facilities in their private development projects. Regarding residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs) and elderly housing, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that the Scheme to Encourage Provision of Residential Care Home for the Elderly Premises in New Private Developments requires that RCHE premises have to be incorporated in new buildings in order to be eligible for exemption from payment of premium, whether other uses (e.g. elderly housing, subsidised housing targeting at young people and ordinary housing, etc.) are permitted in the new buildings; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that "ageing in place as the core, institutional care as back-up" has been the Government's policy direction in elderly services, and the Hong Kong Housing Society and some private developers have also developed elderly housing projects (e.g. the Senior Citizen Residences Scheme, Ventria Residence in Happy Valley and Patina Wellness in Kowloon City) for eligible elderly people, whether the Government will provide clear guidelines and introduce policies to encourage private developers to provide such housing; if so, of the details and the timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) as the Financial Secretary has indicated in the 2023-2024 Budget that it has decided to raise the gross floor area (GFA) of RCHEs that can be exempted in each private development project, and has further proposed to exempt such GFA from the calculation of the maximum GFA of the relevant projects to increase the supply of quality private RCHEs, whether the Government will encourage developers to add other value-added services (e.g. additional facilities such as chapels, cafes, clinics and training centres, subject to a cap of 10 per cent of total GFA) to newly-built RCHEs, so as to create more synergy; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) given that currently RCHE operators may apply for importation of care workers under the Special Scheme to Import Care Workers for Residential Care Homes, whether the authorities will consider allowing one to two additional storeys to be built in newly-built RCHEs as quarters for such care workers; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     In consultation with the Development Bureau, the Housing Bureau and the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau, a consolidated reply to the question raised is as follows:

(1) To meet the community's diverse demand for residential care services, the Government introduced in July 2003 a scheme to encourage developers to provide residential care home for the elderly (RCHE) premises in new private developments through exempting eligible RCHE from premium payment for lease modifications, land exchange and private treaty grants, if the developer complies with certain lease conditions and obtained the support from the Social Welfare Department (SWD). The concerned RCHEs are regulated by the SWD in accordance with the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Ordinance (Cap. 459) and the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulation (Cap. 459A). The scheme does not limit other uses in the same new private development, provided that the uses comply with the planning regime and relevant lease conditions.

(2) The Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) launched the Senior Citizen Residences (SEN) Scheme to provide one-stop services in rental housing, community recreation and medical care for eligible elderly persons. Currently, there are three SEN projects (i.e. Jolly Place in Tseung Kwan O, Cheerful Court in Ngau Tau Kok and Blissful Place in Hung Hom) providing a total of around 900 units under a "lease-for-life" arrangement. The HKHS also plans to adopt an integrated development model for some of its rental estate redevelopments and Dedicated Rehousing Estate developments, i.e. apart from providing rental units or subsidised sale flats, the HKHS will provide SEN units in suitable projects to promote the concepts of ageing in place and intergenerational living in the community.

(3) and (4) To ensure provision of quality RCHE premises, the SWD will take into account a number of factors when considering giving support to exempt RCHE premises from premium payment in a project. These factors include whether the premises can comply with the RCHE licensing requirements and the demand for residential care services for the elderly in the concerned district. If the developer intends to provide ancillary facilities for the RCHE, the SWD will consider the proposal received on a case-by-case basis.

     Regarding facilities that do not form part of the RCHE (e.g. staff quarters), developers may make development decisions to provide such facilities outside the RCHE floor area benefited under the scheme having regard to their commercial strategy.
Ends/Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:05
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