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March 2019
Issue No. 303
 

HKSKH Welfare Council awards community leaders of Good Homes scheme

 

To recognize the hard work of community leaders of the Good Homes Project, HKSKH Welfare Council presented awards to them at a ceremony on 6 January, in which Mr Frank Chan and Dr Raymond So, Secretary and Under Secretary for Transport and Housing respectively, were the officiating guests of honour.

The high cost of housing causes one of the biggest woes for the poor in Hong Kong. To provide relief to these vulnerable families, the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund, with funding from the Community Chest, provided HK$61.5 million to the Hong Kong Council of Social Service to pioneer the Community Housing Movement, a project aimed at supplying affordable housing to a thousand households with the rents capped at 25% of the tenants’ income. HKSKH Welfare Council took part in this initiative by operating the Good Homes Project, a cluster of sixty flats located at To Kwa Wan Road. The project was one of the largest among those in the Community Housing Movement.

Floor managers of the Good Homes Project were responsible for the management of the housing blocks, such as ensuring proper functioning of public facilities and maintaining hygiene. To show appreciation for their efforts, Mr Chan presented awards to the floor managers at the ceremony.

In his speech, Mr Chan said that the community housing movement was severely criticized when the government first proposed it. Critics even said that the government was getting themselves involved in the sub-dividing flats business. He said the movement would not have achieved today’s success if the government had not persevered nor received the support of different welfare institutions.

At the ceremony, floor managers were invited to share with the participants their experiences. Floor manager Ms Kwok Tsui-ha said, “The community is full of warmth! I didn’t have the same sense of camaraderie in the tenement buildings I lived in before. There are lots of sub-divided flats in a tenement building and tenants move in and out frequently so you don’t have time to bond with them and foster mutual assistance.”

After the ceremony, Mr Chan and the guests of honour went to Ms Kwok’s flat to learn about the tenants’ daily lives. Ms Kwok found her new residence in To Kwa Wan an improvement from her previous abode. Not only was the environment better, but she also enjoyed the many classes, feasts, tutorials, and services organized by their neighbours and social workers. Living in a community like this, the tenants enlarged their social circles and cultivated a more positive attitude, she said.

However, Ms Kwok expressed her concerns about not being able to relocate to public housing in the newly extended urban areas when her tenancy at To Kwa Wan expired. The community housing movement is meant to provide transitional housing to those waiting for public housing, and the term of the tenancy is set at three years.

Ms Kwok told Mr Chan that she had been waiting for public housing for about four years and wanted to stay in the community house should public housing remain unavailable to her after her tenancy expired. Mr Chan assured her that assistance would be provided to the needy tenants.

The Good Homes Scheme aims to foster camaraderie within the neighbourhood in addition to providing shelter. There are many regular recreational and volunteering activities for everyone so that all can contribute to the community according to one’s own capacity. For details, of the community housing scheme, please visit: https://communityhousing.hkcss.org.hk/

<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 303. Please click here>