Derelict kindergartens in old housing estates are being transformed into homes for the elderly. Four former nurseries left empty for more than a year have been identified by Housing and Social Welfare officers for a trial conversion scheme. The sites, in Kwai Shing West Estate, Kwai Chung; Wah Fu Estate, Aberdeen; Chuk Yuen Estate, Wong Tai Sin; and Lung Tin Estate, Tai O; should together accommodate 200 people and will be rented out on a commercial basis. 'I have to stress our role is a landlord. What we can do is provide vacant properties to meet social needs,' said Lee Chun-ho of the Housing Department. He said it would be up to the Social Welfare Department to set and monitor living conditions and the facilities offered. Users and neighbouring residents would be surveyed on the pilot scheme after a year, when the department would consider expanding the programme. Society for Community Organisation director Ho Hei-wah welcomed the move, but said the benefit to the huge elderly population would be minimal. 'There are about 50,000 elderly people renting private properties, including cage homes and bedspace apartments, in Hong Kong. Their problems will not be solved if no decisive move is taken.' He urged the Housing Department to search for more housing blocks in urban areas such as Tai Kok Tsui and Yau Ma Tei.