Several civic groups yesterday staged a demonstration outside the Ministry of the Interior, protesting that a program to subsidize the mortgage or rent payments of newlywed couples neglects the needs of same-sex couples, singles and the elderly.
“When I first heard about the program last year, I was glad that I could finally afford to buy a place for myself and my mother, but looking into the details found I wasn’t qualified,” said Chen Mei-yi (陳玫儀), a single woman who lives with her elderly divorced mother in a small, 20-year-old, rented apartment.
“I am a citizen, I pay taxes. Why should I be excluded?” she asked.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
Chen was referring to a youth housing subsidy program the ministry announced last year that aims to help people aged between 20 and 40 with a NT$2 million (US$62,800) zero-interest mortgage for up to two years, or a monthly rental subsidy of up to NT$3,600 also for up to two years.
However, only heterosexual couples married for less than two years are eligible.
Dozens of gays, divorcees and the elderly also took part in yesterday’s protest.
Lin Shih-hsuan (林蒔萱), deputy executive director of the Warm Life Association Taipei, an organization dedicated to helping divorced women, said that while the government came up with the program to encourage marriage, “they should also think about those who have left marriages.”
“A lot of women divorce as they get older. They re-enter the job market and in many cases have to find a place of their own,” Lin said. “They shouldn’t be left alone.”
Lu Hsin-chieh (呂欣潔), policy advocacy director of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, which serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, said politicians were only friendly to them during election campaigns.
“LGBT groups represent a good 10 percent of the population, and they deserve something more concrete,” Lu said.
Responding to the complaints at a separate setting, Minster of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that the subsidy program was specially designed to cater to the needs of young newlyweds so that they can find a home before starting a family.
“We also have a comprehensive housing subsidy program that offers the same help for low-income families, and everybody — including single people, divorcees and the elderly — can apply for it,” the minister said.
However, Jiang said that the government could not offer such help to married gay couples as such marriages are not recognized in the Civil Code.
“The root of the issue lies in the Civil Code. If one day, the public and the legislature agree to revise the definition of marriage in the Civil Code to recognize gay marriage, then of course we would do something to help,” Jiang said. “But before that happens, we there is nothing we can do.”
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) should not use the government’s disease-prevention policy as an excuse to block people’s access to the Taipei Railway Station’s main hall, the Taiwan International Workers’ Association said yesterday. The association held a protest at the station after what organizers said were about 400 people staged a sit-in on Saturday to demonstrate against the TRA’s proposal to ban sitting on the floor of the main hall. In accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s disease-prevention measures, large gatherings have been banned in the hall since the end of February. After protesters yesterday expressed their grievances at the southern
SEEKING OPTIONS: A Sinyi Realty corporate realty official attributed the spike to proposed legal changes in the territory and the ongoing pro-democracy protests More Hong Kongers purchased real estate in Taiwan last year than other foreigners, Ministry of the Interior statistics showed. The ministry attributed the spike to a proposed extradition law that the Hong Kong government submitted last year, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to China and other nations, which sparked mass protests that are continuing. The rate of purchases last year by Hong Kong natural and juridical persons stood at 40 and 60 percent respectively, with building area purchased by both standing at 47.41 percent and 52.59 percent respectively, ministry data showed. Department of Land Administration statistics showed that Hong Kongers
ZERO TOLERANCE: National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin said that he ordered Kaohsiung police to investigate reports of planned voter intimidation Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) yesterday denounced the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for asking people not to vote in a recall poll against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), while National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) called on police to follow up on reports that gangsters are planning to intimidate voters. Yen said that in an effort to save Han, the KMT has mobilized all of its members, who have increasingly tried to prevent Kaohsiung residents from exercising their right to vote in the poll on Saturday next week. She called on Kaohsiung residents to have the courage
Taipei is to reopen public facilities starting on Monday next week under three conditions, and allow indoor and outdoor events with fewer than 250 and 1,000 people respectively, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) yesterday. The three conditions are practicing social distancing measures or wearing a mask if the proper distance cannot be kept, enforcing a real-name registration system for indoor activities and prohibiting meal sharing, Huang said. All municipal facilities would resume operations under those principles, with the exception of school campuses, she said. School campuses at high-school level and below would remain closed to the public to protect student health, but