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HKU Department of Architecture helps SoCO to build social houses for street sleepers

HKU Faulty of Architecture works with Society for Community Organization(SoCO) to renovate four old units in Tai Kok Tsui into “social houses” for single street sleepers. A total of 24 units were built using steel plate components. It could accommodate ex-street sleepers for up to three years. HKU Department of Architecture Associate Professor Du Juan who led the project explained that the old units were subdivided flats or attic, with poor lighting and air convection. The team only had a limited budget, which made the project very challenging. The team finally created designs that utilized prefabricated metal plates and aluminum structures to build the individual units. Each person gets a unit with a bed, desk, storage, with a lamp and ceiling fan. Ms Du explained that instead of using standard dry-wall or wood partitions, they used metal as it is more hygienic and prevents mold due to humidity. Users share the refurbished kitchen, toilet, dinning and reading areas. Each user pays a monthly rent of HK$1,835, about half of the present market price for such bed spaces. One of the beneficiaries, “Ah Sam” (alias), said he had slept in the streets four times in the last nine years. Once he had a permanent address from this place, he managed to obtain a stable job with HK$12,000 income a month.  

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