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Affordable housing applications now factor in length of residence

The Macau SAR government has submitted the latest amendment to the affordable housing bill, having proposed to give more weight to permanent residents as well as to their length of residence in Macau.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

The Macau SAR government has submitted the latest amendment to the affordable housing bill, having proposed to give more weight to permanent residents as well as to their length of residence in Macau.

The bill includes a set of criteria for evaluating each application, such as the applicant’s family structure and applicant’s age.

However, previously, the law did not take into account the number of permanent residents within each application, with some lawmakers, including Sulu Sou Ka Hou, urging the local government to amend the relevant provisions.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário presented on Tuesday to the First Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL) the most recent version of the bill, which shows that the SAR government has accepted the lawmakers’ opinions and has afforded more importance to permanent residents.

According to the new bill, there are five major criteria, including three existing criteria and two new criteria for the local government to assess each economic housing application. The three existing criteria are the applicant’s family structure; the number of family members; and the number of seniors, disabled family members and children. The two new criteria are the length of time the applicant and the involved family members have lived in Macau and the number of Macau permanent residents in each application.

The secretary did not provide explicit details about these two new provisions. The Chairman of the First Standing Committee, Ho Ion Sang, said that the precise criteria will be detailed and revealed later by way of a Chief Executive order.

The newest amendment also proposes solutions for when applications receive the same score. Affordable housing applications are to be evaluated and awarded points and ranked based on stated criteria. Applications with higher scores will be ranked higher, meaning that those applicants will have a greater chance of receiving an economic housing unit.

When two or more applications receive the same score, an additional evaluation will become mandatory. According to the new amendment, applicants with a lower monthly family income will be given priority. If the applications remain tied after the monthly income assessment, then older applicants will be given priority. If these two additional evaluations fail to yield distinct results in terms of ranking, the government will then carry out a computer-generated random draw.

Government officials made it clear that the SAR government, in view of the short supply of economic housing, will not consider dividing the applications into different categories and then ranking the applications within each category.

Regarding the permanent waiting list, which has been of wide public concern, the local government stated that it will not completely rule out the possibility of a permanent waiting list. According to Ho, in the future, when the SAR government has expanded its affordable housing supply, it will not rule out a permanent waiting list. However, in the short term, there will be no such list.

Seniors’ apartment complex considered for land plot P

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário informed the First Standing Committee on Tuesday that the SAR government is considering an apartment complex for senior citizens on land plot P in Areia Preta. The Urban Planning Committee will first publish the land plan for the plot and only then will the project enter the discussion phase. A public consultation process regarding the project is also on the agenda, according to lawmaker Ho Ion Sang, who heads the Committee.

(Macau Daily Times/Macau News)
PHOTO © Macau Daily Times

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

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