Provisional LegCo Panel on Housing

Provision of public housing for the elderly persons


This note informs members of the provision of public housing for the elderly.


2. Over the years, the Government has done a great deal to meet the housing needs of elderly people. Our aim is to enable them to lead an independent and dignified life in the community as far as possible.

Registering the elderly on the Waiting List

3. We encourage elderly people living in sub-standard private accommodation who have not yet registered on the Waiting List to apply for public housing. To this end, various publicity campaigns have been launched and home visits have been made to appeal to them to register. Housing Information Centres have been set up in five districts with concentrations of elderly population, namely in Yau Ma Tei, Tsuen Wan, Wanchai, Hunghom and Sham Shui Po to help them to apply for public housing. These centres provide elderly people with easy access to information on public housing. As a result of these efforts, over 22,300 elderly people have been registered on the Waiting List since October 1993.

Priority for the elderly

4. We always encourage families to live with and take care of their elderly members. Elderly persons can join their younger generation to apply for public rental housing flats under the Families with Elderly Persons Priority Scheme1 under which allocation will normally be advanced by three years. Those who prefer to live by themselves can apply for public rental housing flats under the Single Elderly Persons Priority Scheme2 or the Elderly Persons Priority Scheme3. So far, over 33,000 elderly people have benefited from these schemes.

Compassionate rehousing

5. We also exercise flexibility in genuinely deserving cases for compassionate rehousing on medical or social grounds, upon the accommodation of the Social Welfare department. In the past five years, over 3,000 elderly people have been rehoused under compassionate rehousing.

Flats for the elderly

6. In order to meet anticipated demand, we plan to make available 30,000 public rental flats suitable for allocation to elderly people from 1997-98 to 2001-02. Elderly applicants for public rental housing have three choices in terms of their preferred district. Subject to the availability of resources, allocation is made according to their choice of district.

Financial assistance

7. Safeguards are in place to provide financial assistance to the needy, including elderly tenants, in financial hardship-

  1. elderly tenants with temporary financial difficulties can apply for rent assistance under the Rent Assistance Scheme4 operated by the Housing Authority; and
  2. elderly tenants with long-term financial difficulties can apply for assistance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance administered by the Social Welfare Department which covers a rent allowance5 .

Feasibility of offering an ex-gratia payment to elderly persons who are willing to give up their public rental flats and live elsewhere

8. Using financial inducements to encourage elderly persons to vacate their public rental flats could give rise to abuse. For example, this will attract elderly persons who are not in genuine need of public rental housing to come forward and register on the Waiting List, thereby prolonging the average waiting time of elderly persons in genuine need for public rental housing. We consider it will inappropriate to offer an ex-gratia payments to elderly persons who are willing to give up their public rental flats.

Service for the elderly

9. We will continue to improve facilities and services to meet the special needs of the elderly people living in public housing estates and to offer them appropriate assistance. Self-contained flats, Housing for Senior Citizens units6 and shared accommodation are provided to meet the different needs of elderly people. We have also improved the design and fittings of accommodation for the elderly, including laundry racks, fluorescent lights, handrails in shower rooms and non-slip tiles. Under the Housing for Senior Citizens Scheme, a 24-hour warden service is provided. Social functions and gatherings are organised to promote mutual care and social contact among the elderly.

Elderly Commission

10. In his inaugural address on 1 July, the Chief Executive announced that an Elderly Commission would be established to formulate policies and co-ordinate the delivery of services for the elderly persons. The Elderly Commission was formed on 30 July 1997. The membership and terms of reference of the Elderly Commission are at Annex 1 and Annex 2.

11. The Elderly Commission has set up an ad hoc committee to study issues on housing and residential care for the elderly. Its membership and work programme are at Annexes 3 and 4 respectively.


12. In sum, we have taken many proactive and positive steps, backed up by substantial resources, to meet the housing needs of the elderly people so that they can live a comfortable and dignified life.

1 The Families with Elderly Persons Priority Scheme is targeted at nuclear families living together with their elderly dependants aged 60 or above.

2 The Single Elderly Persons Priority Scheme is targeted at elderly persons aged 60 or above who prefer to live on their own.

3 The Elderly Persons Priority Scheme is targeted at elderly persons aged 60 or above who choose to share accommodation.

4 Under the HA's Rent Assistant Scheme (RAS), a household may qualify for a 50% reduction in rent if
(i) the household income is less than 50% of the relevant Waiting List income list; or
(ii) the rent-to-income ratio exceeds 25%; or
(iii) the household income falls between 50% and 60% of the relevant Waiting List income limit, and the rent-to-income ratio exceeds 15%.
Under the RAS, families who have received rent reduction of two years and are still facing financial hardship should be transferred to a cheaper but self-contained flat in the same district. However elderly families are exempted from this requirement to move to a cheaper flat.

5 The existing maximum levels of the monthly rent allowance are $1,420 and $2,860 for one-person and two-person households respectively.

6 In the Housing for Senior Citizen units, each tenant has a bedroom and shares a common living area, bathroom and kitchen with up to three other elderly tenants.

Annex 1

Elderly Commission

Terms of Reference

  1. To advise Government on the formulation of a comprehensive policy for the elderly including matters relating to the care, housing, financial security, health and medical, psychological, employment and recreational needs of the elderly;

  2. to co-ordinate the planning and development of various programmes and services for the elderly, and to recommend priorities for implementation having regard to manpower, financial and other resources available; and

  3. to monitor implementation of policies and programmes affecting the elderly, and to make recommendations to Government to ensure that agreed objectives are met.




甲. 就制訂全面的安老政策,包括與老人在護理、住屋、經濟保障、醫療衛生、心理、就業,以及康樂等方面的需要有關的事宜,向政府提供意見;

乙. 統籌各項安老計劃和服務的策劃和發展工作,並在考慮人手、財政和其他可用的資源後,向政府建議實施的先後次序;以及

丙. 在落實各項安老政策和計劃時進行監察,並向政府提出建議,確保達到既定目標。

Annex 2

Elderly Commission(安老事務委員會)

Membership List


The Hon TAM Yiu-chung(譚耀宗議員), JP (Chairman)


Secretary for Health and Welfare or representative (Vice-Chairman)


Mr CHAN Kam-man(陳錦文先生), JP

Mr CHENG Mo-chi, Moses(鄭慕智先生), JP

Dr Iris CHI(齊銥博士)

Dr FANG Sum-suk, Marion(方心淑博士), JP

Mr HO Mun-ka, Michael(何敏嘉先生)

The Hon HUI Yin-fat(許賢發議員), JP

The Hon LAM PEI, Peggy(林貝聿嘉議員), JP

Dr SHUM Ping-shiu(沈秉韶醫生)

Mr WAN Man-yee(溫文儀先生)

Dr WU Wai-yung, Raymond(鄔維庸醫生), JP

Secretary for Housing房屋局局長

Secretary for Education and Manpower教育統籌局局長

Director of Housing房屋署署長

Director of Health衛生署署長

Director of Social Welfare社會福利署署長

Chief Executive, Hospital Authority醫院管理局行政總裁

Annex 3

Ad Hoc Committee on Housing and Residential Care

Work Programme

  1. To review the supply and demand for elderly housing and residential care places in both the private and public sectors with a view to increasing the supply to meet the demand in accordance with agreed policy.

  2. Where feasible, to suggest new initiatives and improvements to current public housing allocation policies affecting the elderly, including the various priority schemes for the elderly, with a view to achieving the policy objective of aging in place.

  3. To review admission criteria and arrangements to various types of residential care homes, with a view to achieving the policy objective of continuum of care. Where feasible, new initiatives that can help to improve delivery of services should be considered.

  4. To undertake any task in relation to housing and residential care assigned by the Elderly Commission.



  1. 檢討老人的房屋和院舍名額的供求情況,以便按照議定政策增加私營及公營名額的供應量,以應付需求。

  2. 如可行的話,提議改善影響老人的現行公共房屋編配政策,包括各項為老人而設的優先計劃,以達致“安老有其所”的政策目標。

  3. 檢討各類型安老院舍的入院條件和入院安排,以達致為老人提供持續住院照顧服務的政策目標。如可行的話,應擬訂有助改善服務提供的新計劃。

  4. 處理安老事務委員會就房屋和院舍事務所指派的任何工作。

Annex 4

Ad Hoc Committee on Housing and Residential Care

Membership List

Convenor(召集人):Mr CHENG Mo-chi, Moses(鄭慕智先生), JP


Elderly Commission Members 安老事務委員會委員

Mr CHAN Kam-man(陳錦文先生), JP

Dr Iris CHI(齊銥博士)

The Hon LAM PEI, Peggy(林貝聿嘉議員), JP

Mr WAN Man-yee(溫文儀先生)

Dr WU Wai-yung, Raymond(鄔維庸醫生), JP

Mr W H HO, Deputy Secretary, Representative of Secretary for Health and Welfare

Mr Andrew Wells, Deputy Secretary, Representative of Secretary for Housing
(房屋局副局長 華賢仕先生) JP

Mr Stephen POON, Deputy Director, Representative of Director of Housing
(房屋署副署長潘承梓先生) JP

Mr Andrew LEUNG, Director of Social Welfare
(社會福利署署長梁建邦先生) JP

Co-opted Members 增補委員

Mr MAK Kit-ping, Member of the HK Association of Senior Citizen

Ms FUNG Yuen-wah, Active elderly volunteer, Kwai Chung Elderly Service Centre(信義會葵涌老人中心活躍長者義工—馮婉華女士)

Mr KWOK Lit-tung, Chairman of the Elderly Rights League

Mr NG Stephen, Community Service Secretary of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals(東華三院服務總主任—吳志榮先生)

Mr WONG Man-bo, Chairman of the HK Association of the Private Homes for the Elderly(香港私營安老院聯會主席—黃文波先生)

Miss Nora YAU, Chairperson of the Services for Elderly Division, Council of Social Services(香港社會服務聯會安老服務部主席—邱可珍女士) JP

Dr Alfred CHAN, Associate Professor of City University of Hong Kong