By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Housing Bureau (IH) announced yesterday that 4,798 households have been officially accepted onto the newest waiting list for social housing. Although the bureau reiterated that the current waiting list containing 5,200 households must be handled first, no timetable was given regarding when all these residents can be allocated the low-rental units.
Among the 7,874 application forms received during the most recent social housing application period from September 28 to December 28, 2009, almost 61 percent or 4,798 had their eligibility verified and confirmed, while the remaining 3,076 were rejected mainly because the applicants either failed to submit all the relevant documentation before the deadline, their monthly income exceeded the ceilings, or family members and spouses have already been allocated affordable housing.
The monthly income cap for a family of two is set at MOP 9,100 while their limit of total net assets is MOP 196,560, and those for a family of four these limits are MOP 12,800 and MOP 276,480.
The provisional waiting list announced on July 14 showed that only 4,634 application forms were accepted. In comparison with the final number, 164 households have successfully got themselves back to the qualified list after submitting missing documents to the bureau in time or filing a statement of objection.
In addition, the IH said that four households that were put on the provisional waiting list have subsequently given up their applications and been withdrawn from the queue.
According to IH president Tam Kuong Man, of the Government’s 19,000 public housing unit construction project set to be completed in 2012, so far 2,606 social housing units have been built.
Tam told reporters yesterday that 241 households from the Fai Chi Kei and Ilha Verde public housing reconstruction projects have already been resettled in new social housing units.
As for the existing waiting list of applications lodged in 2003 and 2005, Tam said around 200 applications are in the handling process and another 200 households have already moved into the low-rental flats built by the Government.
There were also about 10 special cases transferred by the Social Welfare Bureau in which the households were given priority in the social housing waiting sequence.
However, to date there are still 5,200 households on the old waiting list. Tam stressed that no households on the new waiting list will be allocated social housing units before the current list can be cleared.
Asked when the bureau expects the existing 5,200 households can all move into the low-rental flats, Tam did not suggest a date, but said that construction planning for all the 19,000 public housing units has been implemented and the bureau has also urged the developers to begin reconstruction projects as scheduled.
Meanwhile, Tam said 4,440 public housing units are currently under construction, but only 357 are social housing.
As for the remaining 12,000 public housing units that the Government has promised to build by the end of 2012, the IH chief pointed out that the decision on which type of public housing the 6,800-unit Seac Pac Vai and 3,500-unit Ilha Verde Neighbourhood projects will be has not yet been made.
On the other hand, Tam said as of August 31 this year, 4,070 households have been leased social housing flats since 1996 when the program was launched.
Mr Cheang is ranked 8,574 on the waiting list. He and his five family members are spending around MOP 3,000 a month on rent. He said he “feels better now” after knowing that his eligibility is confirmed, but is also puzzled about how long he has to wait until it’s his turn.
Ms Ieong, at 63, is jobless and single. She is ranked 7,713 on the list and renting a one-bedroom flat is costing her MOP 1,600 a month. She said she hopes that she can move into a social housing unit as soon as possible.
Applicants who are removed from the final waiting list can appeal to the Administrative Court within the next 30 days.