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Rental housing project for seniors to be ready in 2024

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U says that the government expects a high-rise rental housing project for senior citizens in an area of Plot P in Areia Preta district – a the plot of the ill-fated Pearl Horizon residential project – to be completed in 2023.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U says that the government expects a high-rise rental housing project for senior citizens in an area of Plot P in Areia Preta district – the plot of the ill-fated Pearl Horizon residential project – to be completed in 2023, in which case seniors would be able to move into the flats in 2024.

The policy secretary also says that the government’s decision to commission private social service organisations to run the building’s social service facilities would be an effective model.

Ao Ieong made the remarks during Wednesday’s Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle about her portfolio’s policy guidelines for next year.

The rental housing project for seniors on Plot P was first proposed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng in his 2020 Policy Address which he delivered in April, when he said that the new project aimed to help senior citizens living in low-rise walk-ups improve their living quality. Ho said in April that under the scheme, senior citizens could rent out their flats in walk-ups so that they could move to the flats in Plot P equipped with lifts and use the money they receive from renting out their walk-up flats to cover the rents for their studio units in the Plot P building, and therefore they could have their living quality improved.

The Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) announced last month that the government expected to start construction of the rental housing project for seniors by the end of this year, striving to complete the project within three years. The building consisting exclusively of rental flats for seniors – the first of its kind in the government’s housing programme – will have some 1,800 studio flats, with various kinds of social service facilities.

The area earmarked for the project, which is located at the southern tip of the 68,000-square-metre Plot P, covers an area of 6,828 square metres. The project comprises two hotel-style apartment towers to be built on a podium – which will house social service facilities – and an underground public car park.

During a Q&A session last month about his 2021 Policy Address, Ho told lawmakers that the rental housing project for seniors on Plot P will be a pilot scheme which will allow the government to gauge citizens’ views about this kind of housing, adding that the government would build more such projects elsewhere in the city if the future operation of the project on Plot P proves to be a success.

Ho said last month that the government will commission a private social service organisation to run a restaurant in the building, which will also include medical facilities and dialysis machines.

During Wednesday’s plenary session, Ao Ieong said that the government was studying the future management model of the rental housing project for seniors, including the operation of its social service facilities.

Ao Ieong said that considering the Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) previous experiences, the government has concluded that commissioning private social service organisations to run the building’s social service facilities would be an effective model. The policy secretary also said that the government was still designing the future model of the building’s property management service.

Ao Ieong said that while the rental housing project for seniors will be operated like an apartment hotel, various social service facilities will be set up there, such as an activity centre for seniors. She also said that various kinds of services will be provided, such as recreational activities, voluntary services, interest classes, and rehabilitation services.

Ao Ieong also said that the services provided in the rental housing project for seniors would also include special features to promote intergenerational harmony.

Regarding the future application requirements for renting flats in the building, priority will be given to seniors with reduced mobility living in low-rise walk-ups, Ao Ieong said, adding that the government would also take a number of other factors into consideration when assessing the applications, such as the applicants’ age, health conditions, and whether they have caregivers.

According to the GDI website, the office has granted China Construction and Engineering (Macau) Company Limited a 2-billion-pataca contract for the design and construction of the project without a bidding process.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Government Information Bureau (GCS)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

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