Date
18 October 2017
HKCSS chief executive Chua Hoi-wai says the federation has been studying  the feasibility of containers as temporary housing for those in need. Photo: HKEJ/Keetwonen website
HKCSS chief executive Chua Hoi-wai says the federation has been studying the feasibility of containers as temporary housing for those in need. Photo: HKEJ/Keetwonen website

Container homes may be offered from next year, says HKCSS chief

Container homes may be available in Hong Kong from next year, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) said.

HKCSS chief executive Chua Hoi-wai told a radio program that the homes, between 160 and 320 square feet, can accommodate two to five people and can be used as temporary housing for the needy.

Container homes have emerged as as an option, with shipping containers being transformed into transitional housing.

The government is seriously considering the proposal, the Hong Kong Economic Journal, reports, citing sources.

It is understood that HKCSS sent staff to Holland to see how it manages container homes and concluded Hong Kong can take reference from it.

According to Chua, HKCSS has been studying the feasibility of containers as temporary housing for those in need, as well as talking to some developers to see if they can offer some idle land on which container homes can be put up.

While admitting there are still technical problems to be solved, he did not rule out the possibility that the first batch of such homes will be launched as soon as next year if everything goes well and the government gives the green light.

HKCSS, a federation of non-government social service agencies, will operate these homes.

Chua said the launch of container homes is a community pilot scheme, adding it is in the research stage.

Some developers have expressed willingness to offer a site for container homes and charge HK$1 rent for several years.

Apple Daily identified one of these developers as Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. The site, located in Kowloon, covers several thousand to nearly 10,000 square feet.

Henderson Land executive director Augustine Wong Ho-ming, did not say if the developer had discussed the matter with the government.

He said the company is willing to support the initiative although making profits from the land is still its top priority.

Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said discussions about container homes are nothing new.

The government does not have a position on the matter or any concrete suggestions but is keeping an open mind.

Wong said there will be hurdles to overcome such as those relating to transport and environmental factors.

Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who has visited the United Kingdom and Holland to inspect container homes, said he supports the initiative.

However, he said container homes cannot be stacked up too high given Hong Kong is susceptible to typhoons.

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TL/JC/RA

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