The Government lacks the determination to close unsafe privately run homes for the elderly, the welfare panel heard yesterday. Provisional legislator Lau Kong-wah said: 'If the Government is determined to close down these homes, they do not have to offer a grace period.' He was referring to the Social Welfare Department's three-year grace period and $50 million financial assistance scheme to help private homes meet the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulations. Currently, 500 such homes fail to meet the safety, design and structural rules. The assistant director of Social Welfare, Eliza Leung Wong Kwok-shing, said if private homes failed to meet requirements, they would have to close down. Mr Lau warned that could mean a lot of elderly people left homeless. Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare Ho Wing-him said: 'If we have to close down the private homes we have to find a new place for them.' The head of the Chief Executive's taskforce on the elderly, Tam Yiu-chung, said: 'The new legislation is very strict.' He added that meant homes were breaching the demands because the buildings did not meet the new structural standards.