(13 February 2007)
Imagine what the situation would be like doubling the market potential of Hong Kong’s property market by freeing the opportunity suppressed by the Housing Authority.
Nearly 50% of Hong Kong population dwells in public housing provided by Housing Authority. Half a century ago when the victims of the Shek Kip Mei fire and refugees from mainland China put Hong Kong into a crisis and it started the public housing program. In the very beginning, public housing provision was rudimentary. It was not until the late 1970s the home ownership program funded more aggressive growth of the public rental housing, while crowding out the private marketing.
After twenty years of unrestrained growth, the Housing Authority behemoth like all other public entities grew to a size that is too big to sustain itself and public housing estates became hosts of social problems – crime, urban decay, hygiene, abuses of public housing benefits etc.
It is obvious the vertically integrated model of public housing welfare provision by the Housing Authority needs a total revamp and the solution is: institute a rental voucher scheme as a means to gradual phasing out of the public rental housing program now in place.