Ombudsman probes Housing Department’s arrangements for Housing for Senior Citizens and Converted One-Person units
28 July 2022
The Ombudsman, Ms Winnie Chiu, today (28 July) announced the launch of a direct investigation to examine the arrangements for Housing for Senior Citizens (HSC) and Converted One-Person (C1P) units by the Housing Department (HD).
Introduced by the HD during the 1980s and the 1990s initially for singleton public rental housing (PRH) applicants aged 60 or above, HSC is care home-style PRH accommodation with 24-hour welfare worker service and shared living room, kitchen and/or bathroom facilities. The HD also provided C1P units by dividing an ordinary PRH flat into two or three smaller units with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities to cope with great demand for one-person units then. In 2000, the Hong Kong Housing Authority decided to cease the construction of HSC and abolish C1P units. It subsequently implemented various measures such as gradually converting C1P units and some HSC units back into ordinary PRH flats and lifting the age limit for HSC, while including the remaining HSC units in the Express Flat Allocation Scheme (EFAS) (see Note).
HD information shows that as at 30 June 2021, the vacancy rate of both C1P units and HSC units of a design similar to that of C1P units was 60%, while HSC units of other designs registered a vacancy rate of 10% to 15%. On the other hand, the Office of The Ombudsman has received complaints from non-elderly PRH applicants who had never applied to join the EFAS, but were allocated an HSC unit and lost one chance of flat allocation upon refusing the offer. The HD information also shows that over the past five years, there were more than 1,000 refusals of allocation each year by PRH applicants who had been allocated an HSC unit.
Ms Chiu said, “Given the persistent excess demand and the increasingly longer average waiting time for PRH in Hong Kong, the optimisation of housing resources involving HSC and C1P units is an issue worth exploring. In this light, we are launching this direct investigation to examine the allocation, occupancy and day-to-day management of HSC and C1P units, the progress and effectiveness of related improvement measures, and the HD’s long-term arrangements. Recommendations for improvement would be made where necessary.”
The Ombudsman welcomes views from members of the public on this topic. Written submissions should reach the Office of The Ombudsman by 29 August 2022:
Address: 30/F, China Merchants Tower, Shun Tak Centre, 168-200 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Fax: 2882 8149
Note: Most PRH flats available for selection under the EFAS are less popular. Some flats may have involved unpleasant incidents, while some others may be less desirable in terms of the floor level, the orientation or the internal layout.
Office of The Ombudsman
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