CE visits families living in transitional housing (with photos/video)

     After completing TV interviews on the 2021 Policy Address today (October 10), the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, went to visit four families living in transitional housing operated by the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon (Lok Sin Tong) to know more about their living conditions. She was accompanied by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, and Lok Sin Tong Chairman Dr Peter Pang and Chief Executive Ms Lau Oi-sze.

     One of the projects is in Lok Sin Tong Primary School which was closed in August 2019. With about $15 million funding support of the Community Care Fund, Lok Sin Tong converted and renovated the school into transitional housing. Mrs Lam visited the school in 2019 to know more about the conversion project, which was completed and commenced intake in August last year. There are 51 units for families of two to five people, shared spaces for leisure and creative learning as well as family support service provided by Lok Sin Tong. Another project, located at the junction of Sung Wong Toi Road and To Kwa Wan Road, was the first transitional housing project on government land that was not ready for development temporarily and was built with the Modular Integrated Construction method. The project received funding support of over $60 million from the Community Care Fund and started intake in mid-2021. The three-storey building has 110 units for families of one to three people. With eco-construction and greening as the theme, the project's greening area takes up 20 per cent of the gross floor area. Existing trees on the site have been conserved and there is a garden area as well as shared and leisure spaces.

     The two projects have provided immediate relief to about 160 households that have been waiting for public rental housing and lived in deplorable conditions. Mrs Lam visited four households with children who are students and they moved to the transitional housing from subdivided units. They were satisfied with the new living environment, the relevant services and mutual help in the neighbourhood as well as the lighter rent burden.

     "I outlined the long-term supply of land and housing in Hong Kong in the 2021 Policy Address and we will also step up efforts in producing more public housing units to help people in need. In fact, the current-term Government has adopted a new mindset and has proactively made use of short-term vacant land to increase the supply of transitional housing. Every time I visited families in transitional housing, I could feel the heartfelt joy of the residents, in particular those with children, as more space was available for kids to engage in learning.

     "I am grateful to the community groups, developers, professional and technical groups and relevant public and private organisations for their participation in the transitional housing scheme. The Task Force on Transitional Housing of the Transport and Housing Bureau will continue to provide support to each project operators," Mrs Lam said.

     Through the collaborative efforts of the community, the business sector and the Government, the Government has identified sufficient land to provide 15 000 units as originally pledged. In the 2021 Policy Address, Mrs Lam proposed to increase the overall supply of transitional housing to 20 000 units in the coming few years by providing 5 000 additional units, and increase the amount of funding from $8.3 billion to $11.6 billion.

     In addition to transitional housing, the Government has also rolled out the Cash Allowance Trial Scheme and has disbursed cash allowances to about 50 000 eligible General Applicant households. It has also introduced an ordinance to implement tenancy control on subdivided units, which, subject to passage by the Legislative Council, will come into operation in January next year, to provide reasonable and effective protection to tenants in subdivided units.

     "In the long run, the Government will continue to remain steadfast in its efforts to increase the supply of housing and land through multi-pronged approach. If the various polices proposed in my 2021 Policy Address are implemented, the Government-led land supply will be able to provide a million of public and private residential flats in the coming 20 to 25 years, thoroughly addressing the needs of people who are queueing for public rental housing and those who would like to become home owners. I hope that members of the public will support and complement the work of the Government to improve people's livelihoods," Mrs Lam said.

Ends/Sunday, October 10, 2021
Issued at HKT 22:29