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- Assistance Programme to Improve the Living Environment of Low-income Subdivided Unit Households


Assistance Programme to Improve the Living Environment of Low-income Subdivided Unit Households
(Deadline of Application: 31.5.2022)

Background and Objectives
Target Beneficiaries
Application Procedures
Vetting of Applications
Subsidised Items and Ceiling of Subsidy
Select and Purchase Services and Goods Needed
Community Services and Resources
Responsibilities of the Applicants
Enquiry
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Background and Objectives
 

The Community Care Fund (CCF) has launched a two-year programme, the “Assistance Programme to Improve the Living Environment of Low-income Subdivided Unit Households” (the Programme) since June 2020. By providing one-off subsidy in kind for (1) carrying out minor improvement/repair works, (2) purchasing furniture and household goods and/or (3) pest control services, the Programme aims at improving the living environment of low-income households living in subdivided units (SDUs)(Note 1). Besides, the Programme introduces community services/resources to them, and helps connect or refers needy SDU households to relevant organisations or units for assistance and support. The Programme runs from June 2020 to May 2022. Social Welfare Department administers the Programme with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) being entrusted as the approved service provider to co-ordinate the implementation of the programme and partner with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as approved agents to implement the Programme.

 
Note 1: According to the Census and Statistics Department’s 2016 Population By-census Thematic Report: Persons Living in Subdivided Units, SDUs are formed by splitting a unit of quarters into two or more “internally connected” and “externally accessible” units. Under this programme, besides households living in subdivided units, the targeted beneficiaries also include households living in cubicles, bed spaces/cocklofts, rooftop structures, squatters, licensed structures for residential use, huts, industrial buildings and commercial buildings. The above-mentioned private residential housing units are collectively referred as SDUs under the Programme, not including housing or accommodation services provided/subsidized by the Government or non-governmental organisations, such as interim housing and hostel for single persons, or street sleeping locations.

 

 
Target Beneficiaries
   
  1. Beneficiary households(Note 2) shall meet the following criteria:
    1. living in SDUs;
    2. meeting the income requirement; and
    3. having at least one household member being a Hong Kong resident(Note 3).

  2. Households are deemed to have met the income requirement of the Programme for having passed the specific means tests if they are receiving assistance under any one of the following schemes:
    1. Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme
      (Applicant and household member(s) are currently receiving/had received the assistance in any of the three months prior to the submission of application);
    2. Normal Old Age Living Allowance and Higher Old Age Living Allowance under the Social Security Allowance Scheme(Note 4)
      (Applicant and household member(s) are currently receiving/had received the assistance in any of the three months prior to the submission of application);
    3. Working Family Allowance Scheme
      (Applicant and household member(s) had received the assistance in twelve months prior to the submission of application);
    4. Individual-based Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme(Note 5)
      (Applicant had received the assistance in twelve months prior to the submission of application);
    5. School Textbook Assistance Scheme
      (Applicant and household member(s) are currently receiving/had received the assistance in the previous academic year prior to the submission of application); or
    6. Kindergarten and Child-care Centre Fee Remission Scheme
      (Applicant and household member(s) are currently receiving/had received the assistance at any time in the previous academic year prior to the submission of application).

  3. Applicants are required to submit the notification of application result of the above relevant assistance schemes, bank passbook records or other relevant documentary proof of receiving the subsidy of the above assistance schemes, in order to verify their eligibility. If applicants are unable to provide the relevant proof of receiving assistance from the Government under the six schemes as aforementioned, they may opt to undergo financial tests prescribed in Section 4.

  4. The Programme also covers low-income SDU households currently not receiving assistance from the Government under the six existing schemes as aforementioned in Section 2. The income limits are set at 75% of the relevant median monthly domestic household incomes of economically active households(Note 6), and no asset test will be conducted. Please refer to Annex 1 for details.
   
Note 2: The applicants must be Hong Kong residents, and must be ordinarily residents in Hong Kong. If the applicants are minors, the applications must be handled by their parents/guardians on behalf of the applicants. When submitting the applications, the applicants must submit their Hong Kong identity documents as well as all the required documents for financial tests. They must also fill in the names, and birth certificate numbers/Hong Kong identity card numbers of the household member(s) who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong. Ordinarily residents in Hong Kong include people who leave Hong Kong temporarily and will return to reside in Hong Kong under reasonable expected circumstances, such as going on business trips and overseas studies as well as seeking medical treatment, but exclude those who have emigrated overseas, and those who are the beneficiaries of the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme.
 
Note 3: Persons holding Hong Kong identity cards and are ordinarily residents in Hong Kong do not include those persons who come to Hong Kong for purposes other than residence, e.g. non-Hong Kong permanent residents and their dependents who come to Hong Kong to work, study and undergo training; and also not include those who come to Hong Kong as visitors, and those who come to work in Hong Kong under the working holiday scheme. See Note 2 for the definition of ordinarily residents in Hong Kong.
 
Note 4: If the applicant or any household member(s) are not receiving Normal OALA or Higher OALA at the same time, the applicant and household members must undergo financial test together.
 
Note 5: Only applicable to one-person household.
 
Note 6: The monthly household income is the average monthly income for the three months prior to the month when the application form is completed. For income not paid on a monthly basis, e.g. double pay, bonuses, contract gratuity, etc., it should be calculated by apportionment over the relevant period, and the following items would be included:
  • Employment earnings: Salary, double pay/leave pay, work allowance, bonuses/commission/tip/contract gratuity , income from rendering service, business profits, etc.; and
  • Other incomes: Contributions from children, financial assistance from relatives/friends, alimony, monthly pension/orphan’s and widow’s payment or pensions, investment profits, interests income from fixed deposits, dividends, rental income, etc.
But employee’s mandatory contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme, financial assistances provided by the Government, charitable donations, and subsidies from other CCF programmes, etc. are excluded.

 

   
Application Procedures
 
Eligible SDU Households may obtain the programme briefs and application forms through the approved agents in the course of the Programme. Please refer to Annex 2 for a list of the approved agents. After completing the application forms, applicants shall submit them together with all necessary documents as below by post or by hand to the respective approved agents on or before 31 May 2022 for vetting. The approved agents may require the applicants and household members to provide the original copies of the documents for verification:
   
  1. Copies of the identity documents of applicants and household member(s);
  2. Copies of identity documents of applicants’ parent/guardian/appointee (applicable to applicants aged below 18 or have been medically certified to be unfit to make a statement);
  3. Copies of Residence Card/ Tenancy Agreement; and
  4. Copies of the proof of meeting the income requirement of applicants and household      member(s) (submit documents listed below if applicable).
    • Copies of the proof of receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme;
    • Copies of the proof of receiving Normal Old Age Living Allowance and Higher Old Age Living Allowance under the Social Security Allowance Scheme;
    • Copies of the proof of receiving Working Family Allowance Scheme;
    • Copies of the proof of receiving Individual-based Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme;
    • Copies of the proof of receiving School Textbook Assistance Scheme;
    • Copies of the proof of receiving Kindergarten and Child care Centre Fees Remission Scheme; or
    • Copies of the proof of monthly income of applicants and household member(s).
   
Vetting of Applications
   
  • The approved agents will process the applications with the information submitted by the eligible SDU households, and will also verify if applicants and household member(s) have submitted repeated applications and have already received the one-off subsidy in kind under the Programme. The approved agents will also conduct home visits to assess applicants’ home environment in order to affirm the applicants’ eligibility.

  • Upon completion of the vetting and approval procedure, HKCSS will issue notification of application result to applicants.
   
   
Subsidised Items and Ceiling of Subsidy
   
  • The subsidy in kind can be used to cover three groups of items for (1) carrying out minor improvement/repair works; (2) purchasing furniture and household goods; and/or (3) pest control services. The households may, based on their practical situations and needs, choose one or more of the above groups. Please refer to Annex 3 for details.

  • The ceiling of subsidy in kind is set out as follows:
     
    SDU Household Size (only Hong Kong residents will be accounted(Note 3)) Ceiling of subsidy in kind ($)
    One-person 8,500
    Two-person 10,000
    Three-person 11,500
    Four-or-more person 13,000
     

  • Before selecting service of carrying out minor improvement/repair works, the approved agents will alert the eligible SDU households to obtain consent from the property owners and the consent shall be submitted to the approved agents for record:
    1. If the required minor home improvements/repair works fall within the property owners’ responsible area(s) and the property owners refuse to carry out these items which the eligible households perceive in urgent need, the approved agents will alert the eligible SDU households to obtain consent from the property owners and the consent shall be submitted to approved agents for record. The approved agents will assist the eligible households in arranging the required services upon affirming their needs;
    2. For the minor home improvement/repair works of common spaces, multiple households may apply for the Programme at the same time and share the expenses of the repair works among themselves. (Note 7)

  • The subsidy in kind can be used within the six-month effective period, starting from the submission of completed application form with all necessary documents. During the six-month effective period, there is no upper limit on the number of times for applying for subsidised items, however the ceiling of the subsidy in kind must not be exceeded.

  • Applicants who have obtained appliances/furniture by cash allowance/product donation under CSSA/CCF/CLP Power/Hong Kong Electric Company/Other charity fund or donation, etc. are required to declare so in the application forms. Under special circumstances, if the eligible households opt to purchase again the declared appliances/furniture, such applications have to be assessed by the approved agents and approved by the centre-in-charges at discretion.
   
Note 7: The ceiling of shared repair works expenses is $13,000, and the ratio of repair expenses to be shared among the households will be calculated according to the ratio of number of persons per household:
Repair Expenses x No. of persons of household = Expenses payable by household

Total no. of household members sharing the repair expenses
(Calculated as four persons for four-or-more person household)

 

   
Select and Purchase Services and Goods Needed
   
  • The Programme collects and refers to the general circumstances of the living environment and needs of SDU households that would be confirmed by an independent committee for drawing up a diverse and flexible “prescribed checklist of improvement items”. The list will be updated at least once every half a year so as to better fit with the needs and environmental changes of the SDU households.

  • The staff of approved agents will discuss with and assist the eligible households to select and place orders for the goods and services required with reference to the “prescribed checklist of improvement items”.

  • Upon confirming the selected goods and services, the staff of the approved agents will contact the relevant vendors to provide the services and arrange for deliveries and installation, or the households will collect the goods at the branch stores of the relevant vendors. HKCSS will pay the vendors directly for the services and products.

  • After the eligible households have received the services and goods, the staff of the approved agents will conduct home visit again to confirm if their living environment have been improved and to conduct survey with the eligible households.
   
Community Services and Resources
   
 

The approved agents will introduce various poverty alleviation measures as well as community services and resources to SDU households, and help connect or refer needy SDU households to relevant organisations or units for assistance and support.

   
   
Responsibilities of the Applicants
   
  • Applicants should read carefully and sign to confirm/agree with the Section 6 “Declaration and Undertaking by the Applicant/Parent/Guardian/Appointee” in the application form before submitting the application. The materials provided by the applicants must be true and complete. In case of any change of the relevant information, the applicants should notify the approved agents as soon as possible. HKCSS will conduct random checks on applications and review check on approved agents under the Programme. The applicants must refund any overpaid subsidy to HKCSS once verified.

  • Applicants should cooperate with Social Welfare Department in conducting opinion survey and evaluating the Programme.
   
   
Enquiry
   
  Please contact the nearest approved agents (Please refer to Annex 2) or the following service units for any enquiries:
 
Hong Kong Council of Social Service
Tel. No.: 2876 2461
Fax No.: 2864 2991
Email: ccf.sdu@hkcss.org.hk
Address: Rm 1109, 11/F, Duke of Windsor Social Service Building, 15 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Enquiry hours: Mon to Fri, 9 am to 5 pm (break time from 1 pm to 2 pm)
  (Except public holidays)
HKCSS Website: www.hkcss.org.hk
 
Community Care Fund Team, Social Welfare Department
Tel. No.: 3422 3090
Fax No.: 3427 9890
Email: ccfenq@swd.gov.hk
Address: Room 1007, 10/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Enquiry hours: Mon to Fri, 9 am to 6 pm (break time from 1 pm to 2 pm)
  (Except public holidays)
   
 
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Brief and Annexes on Assistance Programme to Improve the Living Environment of Low-income Subdivided Unit Households

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Assistance Programme to Improve the Living Environment of Low-income Subdivided Unit Households--Application Form  (Acrobat PDF Document)       (Word Word Document)
   
   
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