Finding out the housing needs of the grassroots

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Finding out the housing needs of the grassroots

The Public and Social Policy Research Centre of HKMU has actively engaged in the research on housing and ageing issues to contribute to addressing the needs of society. To response to the government’s transitional housing projects as a short-term solution to housing problem, the Research Centre has joined hands with the Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service, LC-HKS (HKLSS) to gauge the views of residents of subdivided units for transitional housing. 
 
The University and HKLSS have jointly announced the first phase of research findings. The research team conducted in-depth interviews with families living in subdivided units in North District, Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po. Nearly half of the respondents rated their current living units as unsatisfactory. As for their expectations of transitional housing, the majority of the respondents (93%) did not accept — or even objected to — the concept of co-living, believing that the sharing of space or facilities will create various problems. Meanwhile, two-thirds of them hoped to stay in transitional housing until they are allocated a public housing unit. All respondents hoped for a more affordable rent of below HK$5,000 for transitional housing, and aspired to bigger living spaces with rent comparable to that for public housing.
 
As a conclusion of the findings, the research team believes that transitional housing eases the urgent needs of residents of subdivided units. The living area per person should not be less than 12.6 square meters and the rent should not exceed one-fourth of the household income.
 
The team is of the view that the government should strive to increase public housing supply, keep the maximum waiting time at three years, and consider all possible options to increase land supply. Tenancy control on subdivided units should also be implemented. A clear timetable for legislation is necessary and penalties should be introduced.
 

HKMU President Prof. Paul Lam Kwan-sing said, ‘The housing problem of the grassroots citizens in Hong Kong has been a major issue in society. Grassroots citizens have to face with high rent and unsatisfactory living environment. The University is pleased to cooperate with the HKLSS in this research, and we hope that the findings can serve as a valuable reference for the government and the industry to plan the transitional housing in the future.’
 
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service, LC-HKS, Dr Annissa Lui Wai-ling said, ‘We thank the research team at HKMU for visiting families in different districts to have a full picture of the housing need of the grassroot residents. Thus, we can concentrate on the work with the government to implement the Transitional Housing Scheme, which can alleviate the hardship of the grassroots families living in undesirable housing units under limited land and resources.’
 
More details of the study can be found at the following media coverage: