Highlights of the Year 2020-21
SPECIAL SCHEME ON PRIVATELY OWNED SITES FOR WELFARE USES
- As at end-March 2021, 6 projects were completed and 5 of which commenced service. These 6 projects provide various welfare services, including about 260 additional elderly service places (100 being subvented places) and about 1 020 additional rehabilitation service places (all being subvented places). The remaining 44 proposals received in Phase One of the Special Sites Scheme are at different planning stages. If all these project proposals could be implemented smoothly, a total of about 17 000 additional elderly and rehabilitation service places will be provided.
- The Chief Executive announced in Policy Address 2018 that the Government would implement a new phase of the Special Sites Scheme, under which targeted assistance is provided to participating NGOs during the planning or development process. Through applications for expansion, redevelopment or new development on the sites owned by the participating organisations, the scheme aims at providing diversified subvented and self-financing facilities, in particular additional places of elderly, rehabilitation and child care services.
- By the close of application for Phase Two of the Special Sites Scheme on 30 August 2019, 25 project proposals submitted by 16 NGOs had been received Note. If all these project proposals could be implemented smoothly, a total of about 7 000 additional elderly, rehabilitation and child care service places will be provided.
Note: Apart from the aforementioned 25 applications, 1 NGO applicant subsequently withdrew a project proposal.
- SWD has carried out initial assessment on these proposals, and has sought preliminary views of relevant bureaux/departments on the proposals. To assist the NGO applicants in refining their proposals, SWD has been convening working meetings with them by batches since March 2020 to exchange views on the development parameters, types and numbers of service places to be provided, preliminary design, decanting arrangements, etc. in respect of the project proposals.
- SWD has all along been adopting a multi-pronged approach with long, medium and short-term strategies to identify suitable sites or premises in different types of development projects, including public housing development projects, private land development projects, development projects of the Urban Renewal Authority, redevelopment/conversion projects of vacant school premises, development projects on “Government, Institution or Community” (G/IC) sites, etc., for the provision of welfare facilities to meet the needs of the community. SWD has incorporated conditions for suitable land sale sites, requiring private developers to construct welfare facilities specified by the Government. SWD has further embarked on the planning and development of standalone welfare facilities on suitable vacant G/IC sites.
- As at 31 March 2021, there were a total of over 380 welfare facilities under the planning of SWD. These planned welfare facilities were at different stages of development.
- To push in tandem with all other possible means to secure and identify sites or premises, SWD has taken forward the initiative of purchasing premises in the private property market as a short-term measure to help meet the imminent need for premises for the earlier provision of welfare facilities. In this regard, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved a funding of $20 billion for the Government to purchase premises for the provision of welfare facilities on 30 June 2020. With the assistance of the Government Property Agency (GPA), SWD has been implementing a programme to purchase private premises. Specifically, with the assistance of GPA, SWD openly invited owners with potentially suitable non-domestic premises available for sale to submit sale proposals to GPA for consideration on 29 September 2020 and 23 December 2020 respectively involving 6 districts (i.e. Yau Tsim Mong District, Central and Western District, North District, Sham Shui Po District, Wan Chai District and Kwai Tsing District); as well as on 8 February 2021 involving 18 districts throughout the territory. SWD is in the process of assessing the suitability of potential premises offered.
- As announced in the CE’s 2020 Policy Address, apart from purchasing private premises for welfare purposes, providing social welfare facilities in future public housing projects is a practical and feasible option. To this end, the Government has invited Hong Kong Housing Authority and Hong Kong Housing Society to work with the Development Bureau to explore increasing the plot ratio of future public housing projects so that about 5% of the domestic gross floor area can be set aside for the provision of social welfare facilities. This is an inter-bureau initiative and SWD is actively working in conjunction with relevant departments to follow up the implementation arrangement.