Housing services help the needy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2007, 12:00am

Affordable quality housing has been provided by the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) for nearly 60 years.

'For many years we have had a wide range of programmes and services designed to benefit the community that go beyond our regular business activities. We refer to all of our services as 'contributing with a heart',' said Margaret Chan, HKHS director of corporate services.

For example, the HKHS Sham Shui Po, 'Green Lane' revitalisation programme, completed early this year, included beautifying the public areas outside three MTR exits. As well as shrubs and trees to provide shaded areas, seating has been added for public use. 'This is an area where people can meet and relax in a busy community,' said Ms Chan.

In addition to care for the elderly, HKHS volunteers worked with the mentally disabled and assisted with improving the educational and village amenities in a remote area in Guangdong province. Three doctors also joined the programme to carry out health checks on children in the village.

'We encourage our staff to join volunteer programmes but we also try to contribute to their own well being through organising different social and sports activities that involve staff and their families,' Ms Chan said. The HKHS also aims to uphold environmentally friendly practices in its offices and operations and encourages staff to contribute to a greener and cleaner environment.

The HKHS Building Management and Maintenance Scheme (BMMS), launched in 2005, has provided financial and technical assistance to about 83,000 units/flats in more than 1,700 buildings. In many cases assistance is provided to elderly property owners who lack the finances and information to seek technical assistance. The HKHS has also established nine Property Management Advisory Centres where members of the public are provided with free advice on building management, maintenance and community welfare issues.

Yeung Ka-sing, HKHS chairman, said in addition to providing well-tailored housing schemes to cope with the changing needs of society, the HKHS's range of services is underpinned by a tradition of service to the community.

Mr Yeung said the BMMS had won support and recognition from various government departments and its numerous beneficiaries. He said the scheme was also credited by professional institutions with helping to raise awareness of the need and advantages of maintaining buildings and flats in a good state of repair.