A Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners was launched today (May 20) to provide enhanced financial assistance to elderly owner-occupiers to repair and maintain their buildings and improve safety.
The Secretary for Development Mrs Carrie Lam and Chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) Mr Yeung Ka-sing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at the Housing Society Elderly Resources Centre in Yau Ma Tei to launch the scheme.
The scheme is a new initiative announced by the Financial Secretary in his 2008-09 Budget Speech and funding of $1 billion was approved by the Legislative Council for its implementation.
Under the scheme, elderly owner-occupiers aged 60 and above will be eligible to receive a maximum grant of $40,000 within a period of five years, subject to a simple declaration-based means test.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, Mrs Lam said that about 30,000 elderly owners who needed to do building maintenance and repairs to their premises or buildings would benefit from the grant scheme.
"It is tailor-made for the elderly owners to address their needs. The grant can be used to cover not only the repair works on external walls and common areas of their buildings, but also internal works to tackle some common annoying building problems in their homes.
"The $40,000 grant can also be used by those eligible to repay any outstanding loans they owe under various loan schemes administered by the Buildings Department, Urban Renewal Authority, and the HKHS. We have informed those elderly owners who may have difficulty in repaying the loans about the new scheme and their eligibility. We expect that about 1,000 such elderly owners will immediately benefit and be relieved of the burden of repaying the loans.
"We are grateful to the Hong Kong Housing Society for its assistance in administering the scheme. I am sure the society¡¦s experience in promoting building maintenance and assisting elderly owners will make the scheme a success," Mrs Lam said
Mr Yeung said HKHS had been very concerned about building safety in the territory, particularly the living environment of the elderly. Apart from launching the Building Management and Maintenance Scheme in 2005, the society also set up the Housing Society Elderly Resources to provide one-stop advisory service for the elderly to enhance their awareness of home safety.
"With our experience and network in promoting building maintenance, we will try our best to implement this meaningful grant scheme to enhance the quality of life of the elderly," Mr Yeung said.
Details about the scheme are available from the website of HKHS (http://www.hkhs.com/). The enquiry hotline is 2839 7166 or 2894 3222.
Ends/Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:50