The Garden of Hope Foundation a social welfare group, yesterday asked presidential candidates in the Jan. 14 election to promise to introduce incentives to help disadvantaged women if elected.
The incentives could include exemption from rental income tax, encouraging property owners to rent to underprivileged women, co-management of rental contracts with property owners and more assistance for civil groups that help such women to become financially independent, the foundation said.
The foundation also urged the government to give priority to disadvantaged women, including victims of domestic violence and single mothers, when allocating social housing units built -exclusively for rent.
Although the recently passed Housing Act (住宅法) stipulates that at least 10 percent of social housing units should be set aside for the less fortunate in society, demand far outstrips supply and some disadvantaged women could therefore be excluded, the group said.
Nearly 200,000 women reported being subjected to domestic -violence over the past three years, and the number of abused women and their children could be as high as 400,000, the group said.
A-fang (阿芳), a pseudonym used by a single mother, told her story at the press conference yesterday. A-fang took refuge at a center for disadvantaged people with her newborn baby to escape domestic violence, and stayed there for several months. She eventually found an en-suite room she could just about afford to lease, but the landlord refused to rent to her because he feared that she would be unable to make ends meet.
Garden of Hope Foundation chief executive officer Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said that setting social housing units aside for abused women would help free them from poverty and allow them to -gradually become financially independent, a move that lowers social welfare costs in the long run.
In addition to demanding that single mothers and abused women be given priority in the allocation of social housing, the group also called for the establishment of a new mechanism to assist such women and those landlords who are willing to rent out their properties to them.