Housing backlog taskforce
THE Elderly Commission will co-opt 'grassroots' expertise in a taskforce to examine the housing needs of Hong Kong's aged.
The team, including social workers and community representatives, will be set up next month to assess housing needs and other problems, the commission announced yesterday.
Members will tour public housing estates and rest homes and their findings will be handed to the Government as advice on dealing with the plight of 16,000 elderly waiting for housing.
No dates or terms of reference are set, but meetings will begin next month, said commission chairman Tam Yiu-chung, after touring an elderly care centre in Yiu Tung Estate, Shau Kei Wan, yesterday.
'We felt we needed more direct contact to let our members understand more about the need for services,' Mr Tam said.
'I think housing and residential care is the main problem among the elderly but we wanted to set up an ad-hoc group with members from the outside to study this main issue,' he said.
Last month the commission came under fire from social workers for consisting almost entirely of officialdom. Society for Community Organisation spokesman Ng Wai-tung said only one member from the Society for Rehabilitation represented the elderly.
The announcement follows a heavily-guarded 'grassroots' tour of public housing estates this week by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.
Mr Tam, Director of Housing Tony Miller and other housing officials visited apartments, a residential care centre, and an elderly social centre yesterday.
The commission will plan new services and recommend directions for resources.