Fri, Oct 09, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Prioritize housing for disabled people: PDF

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government should give priority to disabled people in renting out joint development housing projects, members of the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) yesterday said, as they also called for rent to be based on the tenants’ income rather than market prices.

They protested outside a city government-sponsored forum on “social housing.”

“The severely disabled have relatively rigid transportation needs — so of course you need to live somewhere convenient,” said Chou Chih-wen (周志文), a research specialist with the PDF’s disability rights group.

He said that people with disabilities should be given priority because “the best places should be given to those with the greatest needs.”

“We feel that joint development housing would be the most convenient place for us to live, as well the most convenient place from which to commute to school or hospitals,” he said.

Under joint development agreements, the city receives a certain portion of luxury apartments built by private contractors on prime land appropriated by the city as part of the MRT construction process.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) administration has chosen to rent out the newly completed luxury apartments at a discount as “social housing,” instead of selling them like previous administrations.

However, Chou said the discounted rate is still too expensive for renters from disadvantaged groups, adding that the government should not tie rental fees to market rates.

“A discount of only 15 percent is totally out of touch with reality because there is absolutely no way we can afford those rates,” he said.

The policy also violates the spirit of the Housing Act (住宅法), which serves as the legal foundation for publicly owned social housing, he said.

The law stipulates that the purpose of social housing is to provide residences for people from disadvantaged groups, he said, calling for rents to be based on a fixed percentage of renter’s income rather than market rates.

City plans to rent out the apartments it owns within joint developments as social housing have led to protests from neighbors, who are concerned that renting to people from disadvantaged groups would drive down their property values.

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