In order to ease the difficulties the grassroots face in housing, DAB Legislative Councilor Vincent Cheng, together with DAB Sham Shui Po District Councilors and officers conducted a questionnaire survey from early August to late September via telephone and street interviews, and successfully collected the opinions of 245 tenants living in subdivided units, unauthorised rooftop or partitioned cubicles in Kowloon West. We also visited those living in subdivided units to better understand their situation and plight. The survey results showed that around 80% of them are on the Public Rental Housing (PRH) waitlist and 1/3 of them have been on the waitlist for over five years. Expensive rent and living space that is too small are the problems they mostly faced. Furthermore, 14% of tenants did not sign tenancy agreements, so they may be forced to move out or pay higher rental within one year. They hope that the government will provide support measures, and build more public housing to cut down on PRH waiting period, set up rental allowance and increase the supply of transitional housing.
With regard to transitional housing, even though the government has already made proposals such as the meeting up of a subcommittee (announced in June), and providing more support for transitional housing. However, more so than financial, technological or procedural problems is the lack of land — finding suitable place — for transitional housing. We officially propose to the government today that the 5,000 square metres of temporary land as laid out by the Slopes Section of the Lands Department at the corner of Yen Chow Street West and Tung Chau street should be changed into 200 units of transitional rental housing. This is to help solve the problems laid out in this survey and to relieve the housing problems faced by grassroots tenants. We have made a total of ten proposals divided into three categories:
(a) Increase the supply of transitional rental housing (TRH)
- Consider our proposed site in Sham Shui Po to build TRH.
- Provide a list of vacant land that is suitable to build TRH, speed up and increase the supply of TRH units and set up a timetable for this.
- Allocate funding or set up a fund to support the construction of TRH.
- By using Yue Kwong Chuen scheme as reference, regularly look for old public housing units awaiting redevelopment that can be refurbished and turned into new transitional housing units.
- Find more sources for TRH units. Urge the Housing Authority (HA) to study and allow HOS flats with unpaid land premiums to rent units out at lower than market rate to a “Dual-landlord social enterprise”, i.e. NGOs, and then have the NGOs rent them out to grassroots tenants. At the same time provide economic incentives such as exempting taxes and land rates or providing a subsidy to building repairs in order to encourage landlords to rent out units to “Dual-landlord social enterprise” and provide more transitional housing.
(b) Increase the supply of land for public housing units in the short run
- Continue to converse more private residential “disposed sites” and make up for the shortage of land for public housing.
- Having considered traffic and district facilities, explore to increase New Development Areas like Kai Tak and Anderson Road, and explore to increase density level to areas in the northeastern part of the New Territories to as site to build new units.
(c) Provide support measures for grassroots tenants
- Provide rent subsidies to those who have already been on the Public Rental Housing (PRH) Waitlist for over three years and are living in unfit dwellings.
- Provide rent control measures aimed at better protecting grassroots tenants.
- Promote a support scheme for tenants in subdivided flats to improve their living environment, such as installing a gate to prevent stealing and other simple measures that can improve their living environment.
Media Inquiries: Vincent Cheng (6373 1979)