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Budget 2024: Hong Kong government extends subsidy for people waiting for public housing

Paul Chan Mo-po delivers the budget address this morning, outlining fiscal plans for the year ahead. Photo by Elaine LAI Uen Ling

People waiting for public housing will continue to receive monthly government subsidies while the government continues to build new public housing units, Financial Secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po said in the budget address today.

The cash allowance trial scheme is available to applicants who have been on the waiting list for public rental housing for more than three years. The subsidy amount for individuals is HK$1,300 per month.

The average waiting time for public housing in Hong Kong is 5.6 years, according to the Hong Kong Housing Authority.

Transitional housing remains insufficient despite 21,000 new units built last year. Many waiting for public housing are forced to live in cramped subdivided flats, the Society for Community Organization reported in a recent survey.

Concerned about his economic well-being, Chan, 67, said he is worried about the difficulties he may face in making a living.

Transitional housing is difficult to get, some public housing applicants said. Chan, 67, who declined to use his full name, said he has been rejected for transitional housing twice. “I hope the government can pay more attention to the elderly living in subdivided flats. They are having a hard time,” Chan said.

Tse, 59, who declined to use his full name, said he currently resides in a hotel in Yau Ma Tei and pays HK$3,000 a month for rent. Despite being unemployed and receiving government assistance, he cannot get transitional housing due to a shortage of units for single individuals, he said.

SOCO has implemented various projects to provide temporary housing to low income people, in areas such as Chai Wan, Tin Hau and Tai Po. “The greatest housing problem is that everything is expensive, including rent, water, and electricity,” said Sze Lai-shan, the deputy director of SOCO.

People hold signs calling for increased public expenditure to meet public demand at Society for Community Organization during the budget address.

Sze said that extending the monthly subsidies for public housing applicants is positive. Sze said that cash subsidies can be specifically directed toward residents living in subdivided units.

《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.


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