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PolyU Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation releases interim findings on the Study on Effective Transitional Housing Delivery in Hong Kong with multiple policy recommendations

17 Aug 2023

Research & Innovation The Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation

PolyU’s Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (JCDISI) released the interim findings and policy recommendations of its “Study on Effective Transitional Housing Delivery in Hong Kong”. Receiving funding from the Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme, the research project is led by Prof. Ling Kar Kan, Director of JCDISI of PolyU (centre), Dr Raymond Tam, Teaching Fellow of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at PolyU (left) and Dr Calvin LUK, Project Manager (Spatial) of JCDISI of PolyU (right).

Prof. Ling Kar Kan believes the transitional housing programme has forged a trans-sectoral multi-disciplinary network which can continue to help tackling the housing problems of grassroot families.

Dr Raymond Tam said the tenants clearly expressed positive feelings regarding the improvement of their relationship with family members and neighbours.


To relieve the pressure on those with urgent housing needs, the Hong Kong Government has been committed to promoting the development of transitional housing in recent years. The Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (JCDISI) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has released the interim findings of its “Study on Effective Transitional Housing Delivery in Hong Kong” (the Study) and its report on policy recommendations. Funded by the Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme, the Study is the first comprehensive study of Hong Kong's transitional housing programme.

The Government plans to complete 84 transitional housing projects and provide over 21,000 housing units by 2024-25, among which over half are in the New Territories. The Study examined 35 projects located on open-air sites with newly constructed relocatable units using Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) technology, which account for about 86% of transitional housing units delivered under the programme. Compared with programmes in other cities using relocatable building structures, the Study concluded Hong Kong’s transitional housing programme to be the most unprecedented in terms of scale and development speed while also having the widest societal participation.

Prof. LING Kar Kan, Director of JCDISI of PolyU and Principal Investigator of the Study, said, “The distinguished achievement of the programme is attributed to the NGOs that proactively echoes the Government’s call to take up a pivotal role in the development of transitional housing projects. Their endeavours are supported by the Government, particularly the Task Force on Transitional Housing, and quasi-government bodies such as the Urban Renewal Authority, as well as professionals in various development-related disciplines, building contractors and MiC unit manufacturers, private developers and charity foundations.”

Dr Raymond TAM, Teaching Fellow of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at PolyU and Co-investigators of the Study conducted interviews with tenants in transitional housing projects. He said, “A major merit of transitional housing is its enhancement of the tenants’ well-being through creating supportive neighbourhoods. The survey clearly indicates the positive feelings of tenants in terms of an improvement in their relationship with family and neighbours. They also consider their current living environment to be good for their health and to make them feel safe in everyday life.” He noted one common suggestion from respondents concerning the possibility of extending the duration of stay in transitional housing so as to reduce the frequency of moving.

Whilst pointing out the merits of the transitional housing programme in Hong Kong, the Study also identifies various pain points out of the stakeholders’ experience. These include the relatively short tenure of the sites, limited scope of the Government’s funding scheme, technical issues encountered in the design and development process, concern about occupancy rates of projects at remote locations, funding for provision of supportive services for tenants, and the administrative burden related to tasks including project promotion, tenant recruitment and eligibility assessment.

The Study supports the Government taking up the role as builder in the Light Public Housing (LPH) programme to enhance the efficiency of delivery, and proposes the followings.

1

 

Recognise the function and position of transitional housing
It is advised that transitional housing, including the LPH, be officially recognised by the Government as a housing type in the overall housing policy of Hong Kong in addition to the conventional classifications of public and private housing. The Government is also advised to maintain the mechanism for the delivery of transitional housing in order to support grassroot residents who are, for various reasons, unable to access decent affordable housing.

2

 

Integrate transitional housing and LPH
It is advised that the transitional housing and LPH programmes be integrated, making housing units provided by both programmes equally attractive and beneficial to potential tenants. The Government is advised to play a stronger role in coordinating project promotion, tenant recruitment, eligibility assessment, cross-referral of potential tenants among projects, and in seeking additional resources for the provision of basic household amenities, facilities and furniture for the housing units, as well as subsidies for moving into new homes and community support services.

3

 

Standardise the design of MiC units
As far as possible, the Government is advised to take the lead in standardising the design of MiC units and optimising the level of standardisation for the remaining transitional housing projects and the forthcoming LPH projects in order to improve their cost effectiveness in production and reusing MiC units.

4

 

Assist tenants to settle down in the Northern Metropolis
Many tenants in transitional housing projects in the New Territories sites originally lived in sub-divided units in urban districts. They should not be considered a transient population but rather as possible early movers to the Northern Metropolis, which is the main source of public housing provision in the coming two decades. The Government is advised to coordinate comprehensive community service efforts to help their smooth settling into the Northern Metropolis.

5

 

Engage NGOs in community making in LPH development
In the development of LPH projects, the Government is advised to proactively consult relevant NGOs for their views regarding the design and provision of communal space and facilities, while also engaging them as communal services providers to foster supportive neighbourhoods for the tenants.

6

 

Advance planning on the re-use of MiC units
It is estimated that more than 18,000 MiC units will be relocated and re-used upon the termination of the existing and committed projects, involving over 20,000 MiC modules. The Government is advised to prepare well in advance for the task, which is too complex and challenging to be handled by individual NGOs.

Prof. Ling further commended all parties engaged in the transitional housing programme and said, “Their collaborative effort has forged a trans-sectoral and multi-disciplinary network to enable efficient implementation of transitional housing projects. This collaborative network has become valuable social capital which can continue to help tackling the housing problem of the grassroot families.”

For details, please refer to: Interim findings and policy recommendations of “Study on Effective Transitional Housing Delivery in Hong Kong".

 

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Ms Sally Lee

Community Engagement Officer, Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation

Press Contacts

Ms Angela Lui

Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

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