Sandwich-class flats may dry up
BILLY WONG WAI-YUK
The Housing Society may not be able to fulfil its pledge to provide affordable housing for all sandwich-class families by early next century, a senior staff member admitted yesterday.
The society will open applications for two new sandwich-class housing projects next week in Tseung Kwan O and Ap Lei Chau to provide homes for almost 1,700 families.
This comes on top of the 1,906 units in Tsing Yi and Ma On Shan which were made available last December, representing only a third of the target of 10,000 units by the end of 1997.
The Government estimates there are 50,000 families in the sandwich class with a family income of between $26,000 and $50,000 per month.
Francis Law Ho-yan, the Housing Society's director of planning and development, said he believed existing plans would provide for the development of 30,000 flats by 2003 for sandwich-class families.
But Mr Lo could not say if the scheme would be able to provide homes for the remaining 20,000 families.
'It's too early to tell. We will continue to update the needs and the definition of sandwich class.
'We said there are 20,000 families left but the number could be reduced to zero by the next century, or it will expand more,' Mr Law said.
The sandwich-class housing scheme was proposed by the Governor, Chris Patten, in 1992 for middle-income families who did not qualify for public housing and could not afford private flats.
'It's very likely the scheme will be dropped after meeting the target as pledged because the property agencies keep blaming the Government for creating direct competition to them,' said legislator and Housing Authority member Lee Wing-tat.