Young renters may have limited time in 'hostels'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am


Young, single people renting a home in the hostels proposed in the policy address may have to save money and move out in five years, the home affairs minister said yesterday.

The 'hostel' idea, announced by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on Wednesday, is seen as a move to appease young protesters who are getting more vocal on social issues. The target group would be aged between 18 and 30, well-educated but yet to save enough to rent or buy their own homes.

'There is awareness that many young people want to have their own living space,' Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing told lawmakers. 'Some non-government organisations have suggested using their own land zoned for community use to build hostels. We will positively consider their applications.'

The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the Girl Guides Association have announced interest in the plan.

Tsang said these NGOs could set a limited tenancy, say five years, and require residents to save in order to buy their own flats after moving out.

But lawmakers said they were confused about the policy objective. James To Kun-sun, a Democrat, said: 'If you say this is for youth development, does that mean there will be training and activities - like a music camp for the tenants?'

Cheung Man-kwong, also a Democrat, suggested the hostel plan be linked to the public rental home scheme or the subsidised homes for sale scheme, so that the young people could become eligible applicants after moving out. 'Otherwise the hostels will only be temporary accommodation, unable to solve the root of the problem,' he said.

At present, single people, except the elderly, are given a far smaller quota than families with two or more members in applying for public rental homes. There are currently 66,000 single people on the waiting list. Out of the 25,000 households that were allocated to public rental homes last year, no more than 2,000 of them were single non-elderly people.

Tsang said officials would work out the details with the organisations, taking account of concerns.