Housing delays criticised
Simpson Cheung, Phyllis Tsang
The Ombudsman criticised the Housing Authority for delaying the allocation of public housing by suspending applications every time an inquiry is made about them.
This follows an investigation into a complaint from a man whose application was temporarily suspended each time he pressed for an early allocation - which he did five times in June and July last year.
'It is very hard to accept that the Housing Authority has to suspend the application for such simple inquiries,' Ombudsman Alan Lai Nin said. He said that without adequate explanation or acknowledgment, such suspensions would give the impression applicants were being penalised.
The authority admitted the man's application had been 'slightly delayed' by the suspensions, but said they were necessary to check whether anything had changed that would affect the order of allocation. A spokesman said it would reply to inquiries that do not affect application procedures in two to three working days.
The man applied for public housing for his family of three in 2006 and was assigned a number. He rejected the first offer in early 2008 and changed his district choice. In June last year he discovered flats had been allocated to applicants with numbers that came after his. He made five inquiries but was told to be patient. He was allocated a flat at the end of July.