The government will step up the rollout of transitional flats for low-income families to ease the current housing shortage, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is expected to announce in her policy address on Oct. 10.
The revelation was made by Anthony Chiu Kwok-wai, executive director of the Federation of Public Housing Estates, after he and other members of his group met with Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan on Wednesday to express their expectations and demands regarding the upcoming policy address, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The average waiting time for people who have applied for public rental housing currently stands at 5.3 years. As a result, many grassroots families are forced to endure poor living conditions in subdivided flats while waiting to move into public housing units.
Transitional housing had been proposed as a way to ease the plight of families in such a situation.
Chiu said the housing chief revealed to his group during the meeting that the government has obtained consent from several owners of industrial buildings to turn their available space into temporary homes.
If each of the buildings has 10 floors available for the purpose and each floor can accommodate 15 units with an area of between 200 and 300 square feet, the buildings can provide about 400 to 500 units in total, the government has reckoned.
Chiu, a member of the Housing Authority’s Subsidised Housing Committee, said the government has also found multiple temporary open spaces for possible development of transitional housing.
He said the administration is still studying whether the transitional units will be managed by the government or by private organizations.
Chiu said the government is also considering changing the public-private housing ratio to 7:3 from 6:4 currently, although such an adjustment may not be unveiled in Lam’s policy address next week.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said he has proposed that the government build 200 modular flats on a 5,000 square meter land as transitional housing units at the intersection of Yen Chow Street West and Tung Chau Street in Sham Shui Po.
Cheng also called on Lam to specify how many transitional flats the government plans to offer and their specific locations.
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