Nothing falls through safety net in $1.1b fund move

Local | Erin Chan 30 Jun 2020

Some 272,000 so-called "N-nothing" individuals could benefit from a HK$1.1 billion one-off living subsidy with applications starting Thursday.

"N-nothings" refer to low-income individuals and grassroots households who are unable to receive any government welfare and live in private housing.

The one-off living subsidy under the Community Care Fund ranges from HK$4,500 for singleton households to HK$15,500 for five-people households.

Labor and welfare secretary Law Chi-kwong said yesterday applicants must now own any property in Hong Kong.

"Likewise, if they are renting a property owned by their parents, children or spouses, they will not be eligible," he said.

Applicants must be permanent residents or SAR ID cardholders coming solely for the purpose of settlement. They must also prove that they do not have any adequate means of supporting their life here before they are issued with a visa or entry permit.

Unlike the HK$10,000 handout scheme, no electronic application will be available.

Individuals renting bed spaces offered under the home affairs department's Singleton Hostel Program or those under non-governmental organizations for rehabilitated offenders, households renting private flats, industrial buildings, commercial buildings and social housing operated by NGOs, squatters and boats residents as well as the homeless will be eligible to apply.

Law said application forms have been distributed to district social welfare offices, home affairs inquiry centers, 216 service units, including community centers, NGOs and support service centers for ethnic minorities.

"The forms can be handed in or by post, and there will be drop boxes at the these locations for putting in the forms," he said.

He added that applications would be rolled out in phases, as processing applications would take two months per phase.

"Singleton households can apply in July, followed by two-people households in August, three-people households in September and all other households starting from October," Law said, with the first subsidy batch to be released as soon as late August. Applications are open until November 30.

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