Alliance of housing activists: Hong Kong needs more and better transitional housing
- By: YANG ZhenfeiEdited by: Editor
Hong Kong needs more transitional housing and more government support in helping families move from poor living conditions to public rental homes, a collection of non-government organizations that promote housing issues said during a news conference today.
The Concerning Grassroots' Housing Rights Alliance, created in mid-2010 and composed of various NGOs and neighborhood committees, put forward several suggestions to improve the city’s current difficult housing situation and called on the government to provide more assistance.
"We suggest that the government provide appropriate support to organizations interested in applying for land for transitional housing projects," said Mr. Chow Wai Hung, a representative of the alliance. "The government can also refer to the 'government-led' transitional housing principle implemented in other countries and take the initiative to find and manage land, so as to shorten the time for the completion of social housing and provide more units."
Currently there are 1,306 completed transitional housing flats in Hong Kong. According to a government projection the number of available flats will increase to 15,000 before 2023. The average waiting time for public housing is more than five years with about 250,000 applicants on a waiting list. There are nearly 220,000 people living in subdivided housing in Hong Kong.
Following Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s announcement last month of the 2021 Policy Address Public Consultation, during which she implored, “I sincerely invite members of the public to give their views on the 2021 Policy Address so that we can map out the future of Hong Kong together,” the alliance conducted a survey on transitional housing from July 29 to Aug. 16, releasing some results of the survey during the news conference.
Among the 218 respondents, nearly 90% said they are waiting for public housing. More than 60% of the respondents have shown interest in applying for transitional housing, and most people wanted to live in transitional housing with independent kitchens and bathrooms. In addition, about 30% of the respondents indicated that they are not interested in applying for transitional housing.
According to the alliance, nearly 30% of the currently completed transitional housing flats need to share the dining room, kitchen or bathroom.
Following the presentation of the survey results, Ms. Lee and her husband now live with their 70-year-old father and 9-year-old son in a subdivided room in Sham Shui Po. She said that she has no interest in applying for transitional housing at the moment.
“The two-year residence period was too limiting,” she said. “And there were difficulties in moving, which was very inconvenient.”
Miss Chan, who currently lives in a transitional housing flat on Nam Cheong Street, also thought the living period was too short and urgently hoped that the government could give more assistance.
She said that she had been waiting for public housing for 10 years. Because the term of residence in the transitional housing will expire, she said she will have to move out soon.
"I don't know where to live in the future," Miss Chan said.
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