Public housing

Gov’t increases units for senior residents, including discounts

The SAR government has responded to the pressing need for housing for the elderlies by significantly increasing the number of accommodation units available in the first phase of government apartments.

The expansion has seen a remarkable surge of over 1,500 units, up from the initial 759, to meet the growing demand for suitable housing for the older adult population.

The expansion aims “to better accommodate the growing needs of our aging population,” Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Hon Wai said. Macau’s aging population has swelled in recent decades creating a “pressing need” for suitable accommodation for older adults, he added.

Qualifying applicants selecting a unit and signing an occupancy agreement by the designated deadline from the IAS will receive a 20% discount on usage fees for the first three years. Most of the initial applicants have been approved, according to Hon.

Occupants will move into the first 759 units in the fourth quarter, with the remaining recipients gradually placed through 2025.

While some older adults worried about being left out of the first group, Hon insisted “all qualified applicants will ultimately be housed” as the program rollout continues.

They are equipped with comprehensive living facilities, ensuring a comfortable and convenient living environment. Shops on the first floor’s commercial space have been bid out, including a large restaurant in preparation. Underground retail is planned for a supermarket with future bidding. An accessible sky corridor will directly connect the complex to the ground-floor eatery.

To enhance the quality of life for older adults and encourage community engagement, the apartments will include a clubhouse featuring amenities such as a Cantonese opera room, karaoke room, fitness room and reading room.

The complex will also have a platform garden equipped with outdoor sports equipment, a sports room with table tennis and billiards facilities, and a multi-functional room. Additionally, various cultural, recreational and sports activities will be organized, along with emergency support, social care and departmental services.

A health center for the elderlies run by the Health Bureau will focus on education, consultations, exercise and nutrition counseling to promote preventative health habits. A geriatrics team from the local hospital will offer on-site services and a hotline for residential health needs.

The official also called the expanded housing program a “touchstone” for prioritizing senior needs across Macau. It aims to provide a model for inclusive, aging-friendly development, he added. Staff Reporter

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