A pilot scheme that aims to ease Hong Kong’s tight housing supply is expected to be launched on Tuesday, with hundreds of “legal” subdivided flats to be offered at the initial stage.
The social housing scheme, which is managed by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS), a federation of non-government social service agencies, will target those who are currently waiting in line for public rental housing and others in need, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Details of the plan, which will last three years, will be announced during its launch on Tuesday.
According to Gordon Chick Kui-wai, director general of the Society for Community Organization, which is involved in the scheme, SoCo has acquired about 20 flats from developers, who will lease them out to the government at low rents and the government will then rent them out to low-income families at affordable rates.
The flats will be further divided into smaller units, or subdivided flats, to accommodate families that cannot afford to rent similar ones at market rates.
Chick admitted that managing the scheme is not easy because landlords offer flats at various rates in different locations.
The number of families that can benefit from the scheme will depend on how the units are subdivided, Chick said.
It is understood that there will be more than 300 subdivided flats under the scheme at the initial stage, but the ultimate goal is to increase the number to 500.
The scheme is seen as an effort to help tackle the issue of illegal subdivided flats, which have long been a major concern for the government since most of them do not conform with safety and hygiene requirements.
The subdivided flats under the new scheme will meet the requirements of the city’s building and fire codes.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said in early July that the new administration will work with non-governmental organizations to operate government-approved subdivided rental flats through crowdfunding.
According to HKCSS, it has set up a fund to cover expenses related to the implementation of the scheme, such as renovation and administration work, and has raised several tens of millions of HK dollars so far.
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