HONG KONG, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The construction of Hong Kong's largest youth hostel started Tuesday, aiming to offer affordable accommodation to over 1,600 young people amid soaring housing rents.
The construction is expected to complete in 2021.
The hostel, named "Youth Oasis," is one of the six projects under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's youth hostel scheme, with the aim of relieving young people's burden of high rents through cooperation with non-governmental organizations.
Under the scheme, non-governmental organizations will receive subsidies from the government to build hostels on their own lands and run them on a self-financing basis.
The hostels will accommodate working permanent residents aged 18 to 30, with the hosting organizations required to set the rents at no more than 60 percent of the rents for similar private flats in the surrounding area.
Po Leung Kuk, the charity organization in charge of the operation of "Youth Oasis," said a 27-storey building with a total construction floor area of 41,159 square meters will be built up in Yuen Long district of the New Territories, providing 1,680 hostel places for working youths to lease at about half of market rate for a maximum total of five years.
The organization's chairperson Margaret Choi said at the groundbreaking ceremony that "Youth Oasis" will not only provide accommodation for young people at discounted rents, but also enable them to interact and exchange ideas in the hostel's abundant public spaces, as well as to enjoy facilitation from a wide range of youth development services such as career planning and entrepreneurship foundation.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at the ceremony that the youth hostel scheme was first proposed in 2011 in the hope of making better use of Hong Kong's limited lands to meet young people's needs for affordable accommodation.
Besides "Youth Oasis," the planning, design or construction of the other five projects are also underway, and one of them will be finished and open for lease later this year, she said.