Policy address 2022: 30,000 public housing units to be provided under new housing policy
Solving the housing problem is the government’s top priority, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in his first policy address today, announcing a new policy to provide 30,000 light public housing units in five years.
“To deal with the problem of inadequate accommodation including subdivided flats, we need breakthroughs in housing supply and solutions to address the long-term problem of housing shortage,” Lee said.
The “Light Public Housing” scheme allows Hongkongers who have been waiting for public housing units for three years or more to apply for an earlier allocation of the new units featuring basic facilities with lower rent. Lee said priority will be given to family applicants.
The new scheme is expected to increase the city’s total public housing supply by 25% and
shorten the waiting time by one and a half years by taking into account the total supply of light and traditional public housing.
“The target is to cap the waiting time at the existing level of about six years and shorten it to about four and a half years in four years’ time,” Lee said.
He added that the authorities will work closely with different government departments in enhancing the quantity, speed, efficiency and quality to shorten the waiting time for public housing.
However, the deputy director of the Society of Community Organisation, Sze Lai-shan, said she would like to see a further reduction in waiting time for public housing.
“Although reducing the waiting time to four and a half years should already be a challenging task, we hope the waiting time for public housing can be reduced to three years,” said Sze.
Wong Kin-yip, 36, a construction worker living in a subdivided unit, is not satisfied with the introduction of light public housing.
“The light public housing is only good for family applicants who have been waiting for more than three years. It does not help people like me, who have only been waiting for about a year,” Wong said.
The introduction of light public housing can benefit subdivided unit tenants because the government can gather resources and professionals faster than NGOs, said Sze Lai-shan, deputy director of the Society of Community Organisation.
“Unlike NGOs that raise their own social housing, the government can offer more affordable prices to tenants. Light public housing can be constructed faster as the government has a wealth of resources and expertise,” Sze said.
Meanwhile, the government will implement an advanced allocation scheme for traditional public housing. It is expected that 12,000 units will be available in the next five years, allowing applicants to move in about three to 18 months earlier.
Yip Ngai-ming, a professor of public policy at the City University of Hong Kong, said the allocation scheme is not enough to solve the problem of long waiting times for public housing if everything is only based on data.
“More details should be provided, otherwise this is just a display of statistics,” Yip said.
Lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun expected the government to introduce new policies on subdivided flats, but the city’s head did not announce any new measure addressing the situation.
“The government should find ways to improve the living standard of residents in subdivided flats,” Cheng said.
He said that more measures should be taken to improve the enforcement of the rent control on subdivided flats that has been in effect since January 2022, adding that the government should consider introducing a starting rent for subdivided flats.
Sze was also disappointed in the absence of a starting rent for subdivided flats.
Lee also said that at least 72,000 private properties will be constructed in the next five years.
《The Young Reporter》
The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.
Policy Address 2022: Hong Kong’s new leader announces no new measures to boost international tourism; support for local tourism instead
Policy address 2022: Hong Kong to speed up the development of Northern Metropolis