Proposal puts young singles at back of queue for flats

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am

Young singles will have to wait up to 13 years before they can get their own public flats under a proposed points system released yesterday.

Officials presented two options to members of the Housing Authority, both involving an annual quota and a scoring system that favours older people.

Only those over 40 will be given a subsidised unit within three years.

At present, all single adults who earn less than $6,947 a month qualify for public housing. Age and marital status are not elements in prioritising allocations.

Under the proposals, only between 1,000 and 2,000 flats of the 18,000 annual supply will be reserved for single applicants under the age of 58.

The first option groups those aged between 18 and 24 in one category with zero points. Applicants aged between 25 and 29 get 18 points, and the last category of people aged between 50 and 57 will be given 108 points.

The second option gives applicants aged 18 zero points, with three points awarded for each year above this.

The highest mark will go to 57-year-old applicants, with 117 points.

Under both options, those already living in public housing with their families will have 30 points deducted. That means an 18-year-old living with his family in public housing will start with minus 30 points.

And to avoid applicants with family on the mainland taking advantage of the system, singles can only carry a maximum of 18 months of their waiting time in the queue to the family category after they get married.

'As there are a number of factors affecting the queue, it is impossible to estimate how long it will take for young singles to wait to be given a public flat,' said assistant director of housing Carlson Chan Ka-shun.

But since there are 27,000 singles on the waiting list, the youngest at the bottom of the queue will in theory have to wait for more than 13 years.

Deputy Director of Housing Tam Wing-pong admitted it was possible that the proposal, if implemented, will be challenged for violating the Family Status Ordinance.

Chan King-fai, of Youth Commune, vowed to seek a judicial review if the proposal was accepted.