I feel most honoured to be the Chairman of HKHS and look forward to working closely with the Supervisory Board, the Executive Committee and Management of HKHS in the days ahead, with a unified passion of providing quality housing and services to respond to the needs of Hong Kong people.
Since its establishment in 1948, HKHS has completed 89 projects providing more than 71,000 resident units. Being a “housing laboratory” in Hong Kong, we keep progressing with the times to explore new solutions, on our own resources or in partnership with the Government, so as to help address different housing needs. Such a spirit of innovation is the cornerstone for our business development. For example, we took the lead in introducing professional housing management expertise from UK to develop and manage our rental estates as early as in the 50’s; initiated the Urban Improvement Scheme in the 80's; developed the sandwich class housing and implemented various housing loan schemes on behalf of the Government in the 90’s; developed senior citizen housing in 2000’s, and assisted owners of old private buildings in building management and maintenance in the millennium.
A review of the history of Hong Kong’s housing development could start from 1945, when the territory emerged from the Japanese occupation in a state of destitution, caused by shelling and air raids during the war. Out of a population of 600,000, one in four was homeless. Others suffered privations of varying degrees. This was then followed by an influx of refugees into Hong Kong. The impact this had on housing was devastating. There was at that time no Government housing scheme, let alone housing subsidies (The former Housing Authority was set up in 1954). What Hong Kong had were a few conscientious members of the community who volunteered to dedicate their time and talents to help those in need. In 1948, with a donation of £14,000 from the Air Raid Distress Fund of the Lord Mayor of London, they founded a non-profit making organisation to help those in need of housing. This organisation has become the Hong Kong Housing Society, as we know it today, which was the first non-government public housing organisation in Hong Kong.
In recent years, in the face of the ageing population in Hong Kong, the Housing Society has embarked on different housing projects for the elderly to provide cosy nests to all socio-economic groups. In our rental estates built in the early years, ageing population and ageing buildings are also of our concern. Therefore, we rolled out the Ageing-in-Place (AIP) Scheme to help our elderly tenants to age in place, and at the same time have implemented major improvement works at the aged estates and adopted a mixed redevelopment model to rejuvenate some of the estates. In future, elderly housing and estate redevelopment will remain our core businesses, while we will also explore transitional housing of different kinds to help those people waiting for public rental housing and living in poor environment.
With a mature corporate governance structure and a strong and efficient management team, we have been able to fulfill our social mission and rise to all the challenges over half a century. Looking back on the past 70 years, the HKHS has demonstrated great tenacity and dedication in addressing housing issues for the needy in our society. Having gone through all the challenges, we have become stronger and more confident in contributing our share to build a better future for Hong Kong.
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