Flat-lease bid to help middle-class old people

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 October, 1997, 12:00am

Purpose-built flats with care services are to be leased for life to middle-class elderly people.

The plan aims to compensate for the shortage of homes for the elderly.

The Chief Executive promised the 'Senior Citizen Residents Scheme', comprising just 500 flats in the urban area, would be completed by 2001.

The buildings will be in Tseung Kwan O and Jordan Valley, Ngau Tau Kok, supported by nearby hospitals.

A spokesman for the Housing Society said details were still being finalised, but there were no plans to sell the flats to the elderly at this stage.

'The pilot scheme is planned to lease the flats to the residents for the length of their life,' she said.

The flats, to be let at 'affordable' prices, will target such people as retired civil servants who have to move out of government quarters, or parents who have sold their flat to grown-up children.

The scheme hopes to cut the number of people waiting for a place at homes for the elderly subsidised by the Government.

It is understood middle-class families have been deterred by substandard service in many private homes.

About 27,000 elderly people are waiting for a place but only 7,000 are available, social workers say. About 60,000 elderly people are poor and live alone.

The Social Welfare Department is to ask private developers to incorporate social services at the planning stage to increase supply.

But Kwok Lit-tung, chairman of the Association for the Rights of the Elderly and a member of the Elderly Commission working group on housing and residential care homes, said it was dangerous for the Government to rely too heavily on the private sector.

'The Government did not set a target of building more subsidised homes. I feel disappointed so far as housing is concerned,' he said.

Mr Tung said arrangements would be made in allocating public flats to encourage families to live with elderly members.