Social housing supply in doubt

Thursday, July 15, 2010
Issue 1063, Page 4
Word count: 675
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

More than 10,000 households have qualified for social housing to date, but it seems that there may not be enough supply unless the Seac Pai Van and Ilha Verde projects are to build social instead of affordable housing.

According to the Housing Bureau, the Seac Pai Van project will include 6,800 public housing units and lots 1, 2 and 3 in Ilha Verde will have more than 3,500 units. However, the Government has not yet decided whether or not the units will be for the use of social or affordable housing.

Housing Bureau director Tam Kuong Man reiterated yesterday at a press conference that the 5,500 households on the previous waiting list will be given priority in the allocation of social housing units.

He also repeated what Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io said at the Legislative Assembly in early May that “there will only be more [than 19,000 units by 2012] and not less”.

The bureau announced the provisional waiting list and elimination list for the latest round of social housing application held between September 28 and December 28, 2009.

Among the 7,874 application forms received, 4,634 or nearly 59 percent have been accepted, 1,066 or 13.5 percent did not submit all documents required and 2,174 or some 27 percent have been disqualified.

Tam Kuong Man said the top three reasons for having been removed from the social housing application were applicants having exceeded the income ceiling (nearly 29 percent), family members and their spouses already having affordable housing (28 percent), and applicants having owned private property three years before the application closed (19 percent).

He said the confirmed waiting list should be available by the end of August or early September, adding that the bureau will adjust the proportion of social and affordable housing construction based on the list afterwards.

The Government has guaranteed to build 19,000 public housing units before the end of 2012.

According to the statistics from the bureau disclosed yesterday, social housing projects of the “19,000-unit goal” include 210 units completed in Ilha Verde in 2007, 884 units in Fai Chi Kei and 252 units in Ilha Verde in 2009, 672 units in Ilha Verde and 588 units in Mong Ha this year, as well as 357 units expected to be completed in 2011 in Ilha Verde and 750 units that will begin construction shortly in Mong Ha.

Yet, all these will only amount to 3,713 social housing units, which may even include some that have already been leased out, such as those completed in 2007 and 2009 in Ilha Verde and Fai Chi Kei.

That means at this moment the quantity of social housing that is known to the public cannot even satisfy the 5,500 households on the old waiting list, unless the Government decides to use the 10,300 units planned to be built in Seac Pai Van and lots 1, 2 and 3 in Ilha Verde for social housing purposes.

Meanwhile, Tam Kuong Man said the bureau will “try its best” to put all households on the two waiting lists in social housing in the next two years.

Chan Fun, at 67, was wiping tears away after finding out that she had been removed from the social housing application for the second time since 2005.

She said she moved away from her husband, who has an affordable housing unit, 23 years ago because of domestic abuse. But she is unable to proceed with a divorce application all these years since she cannot provide a marriage certificate and thus cannot prove her marital status.

Renting a bed space in Areia Preta for MOP 800, she said she had already told the bureau about her situation but “no help was followed”.

The provisional waiting list and elimination list will remain posted at the car park area in the Housing Bureau until July 29. Applicants can also call the bureau on 28356288 or visit to check the lists.

Statements of objections and missing documents should be delivered to the bureau on July 29 at the latest.


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