Prefab housing 'bright and vibrant'

Local | Amy Nip 9 May 2018

Prefabricated modular housing to be built in Sham Shui Po - the SAR's oldest and poorest district - will be bright and vibrant, according to artist impressions made public for the first time by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

The council plans to set up a transitional housing project in the district, after securing a residential site from Henderson Land Development on Nam Cheong Street for a token fee of only HK$1 for two years.

Three prefabricated, three-story high modular housing blocks will be built at the 978-square-meter site and provide around 90 flats to be rented out to people living in dismal conditions.

Sham Shui Po district councilors were consulted about the plan yesterday, during which the council presented artist impressions and layouts of flats.

The pictures show each housing block in a different color and with many windows to ensure brightness indoors.

The blocks should denote "young," "energetic" and "creative" to ensure there are no negative connotations about the residents who will live there, said council business director Anthony Wong Kin-wai.

Three types of apartments will be provided - single-person flats measuring 13 square meters or 144 square feet, two-person units of 20 sq m or 215 sq ft, and three-person flats measuring 27 sq m or 288 sq ft.

Each flat will have a washroom fitted with an electric heater, and the kitchen will be equipped with an electric stove and ventilator.

Those in dire need of housing, or have been queuing up for public housing flats for three years or more, are eligible to apply for the flats. They can rent a flat for at least two years, and will pay rent amounting to no more than a quarter of their monthly income.

A volunteer team has finished the housing design, and submitted the plan to the Buildings Department for approval.

The council reached out to eight to 10 manufacturers of prefabricated flats, and aims to release a tender document in June. The winning supplier will build the project at the end of this year.

It is estimated that it will take six to nine months to erect the housing blocks on the site. An operator who will run the program and select tenants will be chosen at the beginning of 2019.

However, district councilors said the housing project is too small.

"Look into one Sham Shui Po building and you will find more than 90 partition flats," councilor Dominic Lee Tsz-king said.

Another councilor, Wai Woon-nam, said that once the two-year rental period is up, residents will be plunged back into misery.

Council chief executive Chua Hoi-wai said the council is working with the government to see if four plots of land in Kwai Tsing, New Territories and Hong Kong Island can be used for modular housing. If this request is granted, the flats to be built there may be rented out for up to five years, he said.

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