Two new youth hostels in Yuen Long and Causeway Bay have opened, with units available for young people at around half the market price. However, one of them requires residents to complete weeks of community service in order to be eligible.

Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis youth hostel
A sample room in the Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis. Photo: supplied.

The youth accommodation in Yuen Long – Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis – is the biggest hostel project under the city’s 2011 Youth Hostel Scheme.

The hostel was developed, and is operated by, non-governmental organisation Po Leung Kuk, while the construction costs were fully funded by the government.

The 27-storey building can accommodate 1,680 residents and includes 816 single ensuite rooms and 432 twin ensuite rooms. Monthly rent ranges from HK$2,950 to HK$4,200 with an area of about 199 to 240 sq ft each, according to its website.

In order to be eligible for a single room, applicants must have a monthly income of no more than HK$25,000 and a total net asset value of no more than HK$380,000. The maximum combined monthly income for double room applicants is HK$50,000, and their joint total net worth must not exceed HK$760,000.

Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis youth hostel
A sample room in the Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis. Photo: supplied.

Another youth hostel in Causeway Bay, dubbed BeLIVING Youth Hub, was the city’s first hostel project that was converted from a hotel. The project offers 194 places for young residents with similar wage caps as the Yuen Long youth hostel.

The monthly rent of the youth hub ranges from HK$3,800 to HK$4,800, with each unit occupying an area of about 176 to 324 sq ft. According to its website, the hostel will organise coffee, crafting and investing workshops for its tenants regularly.

Community service

During Chief Executive John Lee’s first Policy Address last year, he vowed to provide about 3,000 more discounted hostel places for young people, adding that tenants will be required to complete community service of no less than 200 hours.

Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis youth hostel BeLIVING Youth Hub
The Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis (left) and the BeLIVING Youth Hub (right). Photo: supplied.

Both of the hostel projects are part of the Youth Development Blueprint formulated by the government in 2022. The blueprint featured over 160 indicators relating to housing, entrepreneurialism and career development, as well as the nurturing of patriotism – all designed to help the city’s youth participate in society and reach their potential.

The blueprint also aimed to increase the supply of youth hostels and support young people to find jobs or start a business in the Greater Bay Area.

Daniel Chan, president of Po Leung Kuk, later told the press that candidates were not required to make promises on fulfilling community service hours, “but they are encouraged to,” Chan reportedly said. Nevertheless, BeLIVING Youth Hub said it required tenants to earn their places by completing 200 hours of volunteer work.

According to the guidelines issued by the Home and Youth Affair Bureau, community service projects included tutoring underprivileged pupils.

john lee policy address
Chief Executive John Lee. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The application deadline for the Po Leung Kuk Lee Shau Kee Youth Oasis is 3 April, 2023, while the BeLIVING Youth Hub deadline is 28 April, 2023.

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Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to StandNews, The Initium, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.