The 30,000 transitional public housing flats promised in Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee’s first Policy Address will be equipped with en-suite conveniences and will not be repurposed containers, officials say.

United Court, a transitional housing project at Tung Tau, Yuen Long. File photo: GovHK.

When meeting the press on Wednesday afternoon, Lee said some of the units in the new Light Public Housing (LPH) scheme will be built “in a way similar to containers” and can reach over 10 storeys high.

The Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho clarified on Thursday that the prefabricated modules constituting the LPH would be specifically designed by a team of the Architectural Services Department.

“It is definitely not what some members of the public think, that we are buying containers and remodelling them,” Ho told reporters. She said each unit would have its own bathroom and a place to cook, as well as basic facilities such as air conditioning and water heaters.

The Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong said the scheme was designed to alleviate Hong Kong’s housing problem in the short term.

Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong. File photo: GovHK.

He said it was an “objective reality” that the construction of traditional permanent public housing units would take “almost up to 60 months.”

“If we continue to make use of conventional public housing as the only solution, then actually we would not be able to increase the supply for the coming five years.”

Wong said the LPH units could be built over one to two years. With the 30,000 additional public homes under the new scheme, he said the average waiting time for public housing could be brought down from six years at the moment to 4.5 years within four years.

Wong said the government has already found five to six sites for the construction of LPH, but could not reveal their exact locations as they have not been finalised yet.

Chief Executive John Lee. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The 30,000 promised LPH units will not be repurposed from the existing Covid-19 quarantine facilities in Kai Tak and Penny’s Bay, he added.

Some of the LPH will be in urban areas, but most will be in the New Territories, he said, adding that the government will ensure appropriate transport facilities.

“Even for the friends in the New Territories, there will also be suitable public transport to take them to train stations,” Wong said.

Winnie Ho said existing transitional housing in relatively remote areas had an 80 to 90 per cent occupancy rate as well.

She said the rent for LPH would be set at 90 per cent of that for traditional public housing newly built in the same district.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.