Single older people left out

AS the proportion of old people in Hongkong is growing, it is good to see that the Hongkong Government is prepared to do something to provide for their well-being, given that they have contributed to the prosperity of the territory.

However, society has neglected the needs of single, middle-class older people, in the area of housing. While the Government is now planning to provide a cheaper home ownership scheme for young middle-class people, the Housing Society Home Ownership Scheme bars single people, both young and old, from applying for society flats.

My friend and I are both single, we are in our mid-50s and near retirement. We saved so we could pay for a flat outright, rather than paying high interest rates to a bank. I managed to buy a flat in time, but as house prices rose so swiftly, my friend found herself without a flat, and only her dwindling savings.

Why can't the Housing Society allocate flats for single people, including widows and widowers who are over 50 years of age, regardless of their means, so long as they do not own a flat, or have a flat which they have to leave because of their age; for example, it may not have a lift, or the flat is not close to public transport? These flats could be returned to the society at the market value after the owner's death and be made available to other single, old people.

Can't the Housing Society do something for these people? D. LEE Mid-Levels