After months of flat search, Lee’s family finally settled last year in a tiny flat that they could barely afford. This flat is located in an unfamiliar neighborhood. It took his family quite a while to connect with new neighbors and identify available community services. One day, out of the blue, Lee received a notice of substantial rent increase from his landlord. The flat has now become too expensive to rent. The family needs to move out and start the flat-search exercise again in one month. These hassles are what many low-income households have experienced when seeking shelters in Hong Kong.
Sharing common goals to improve low-income dwellers’ rental experiences, ZeShan Foundation joined hands with ComHome Social Housing Platform (“ComHome”) in 2022, to pilot the development of a more socially responsible real estate agency model serving underprivileged families in Hong Kong.
In February 2023, ComHome set up a new real estate agency as a one-stop stop, operating like a social enterprise, to facilitate prospective tenants’ search for socially-conscious landlords, as well as more economical home maintenance and social services. The team comprises some rare social workers with estate agent’s licences.
Through this 15-month pilot project, ZeShan hopes to see more grassroot families having better and affordable housing experiences, and more importantly to understand the possibility of using market-based solutions in tackling deeply-rooted housing challenges in Hong Kong.
Assistant Program Manager