The Crossroads Foundation will have to return half of their current site to the government by March 2016 in order to make way for luxury housing. The local NGO, which specialises in collecting and redistributing donated goods to those in need, has been using the site for the past 20 years.
Their Tuen Mun base, which was originally barracks for the Brigade of Gurkhas, was leased to the organisation after the Nepalese soldiers moved out.
In August, local media reported that the NGO was being forced from the whole site by the Town Planning Board. However, after talks with the government, Crossroads were able to keep the eastern half of the site, where most of their daily operations take place. The board have since rezoned the area for housing.
Kate Falconer, a spokesperson for Crossroads, told HKFP that they wanted to stay, but did not blame the government for the situation: “Really, we would not exist if not for the Hong Kong government.”
However, Crossroads said that they were prevented from maximising the potential of the site as there was never a long-term lease. As they were not permitted to modify the existing buildings or construct new facilities, the NGO said that their makeshift environment constrained their work, undermined efficiency and hindered them from doing more to help people in need.
The organisation is exploring potential solutions through the private sector as the government has not found a viable alternative site.
The Crossroads Foundation receives goods from donors, then gives them to other charities and people in need in other countries. It was founded by Malcolm and Sally Begbie in in 1995.