An overseas reporter once described subdivided units as a ‘local specialty’ of Hong Kong. When this ‘local specialty’ is commonly found in many parts of Hong Kong, the problem is no longer one that only affects the bottom sector of the society; it is in fact a much wider socio-economic issue of Hong Kong with huge impact on the development and well-being of our next generation.
The new challenges of the day are calling for new solutions. Some of the general public believe that this social problem may be alleviated through a social enterprise combined with innovation. Turning this belief into actions, Light Be was founded in response, and the business was named as ‘Social Realty’. Light Home was made possible with the generous support from different sectors of the general public.
In 2013, Light Be successfully launched Light Home and started renting apartments from different landlords to sublease the property to the less privileged at an affordable rent.
How this works
In simple terms, Light Home landlords voluntarily compromise their rental income temporarily, instead they willingly offer their apartments for a term of years as Light Home to help the others. When the lease ends, Light Be will make arrangements according to the landlord’s decision to either continue using the property as Light Home or recover the property for other purposes. The difference between this and traditional charity donations, is that Light Home landlords do not have to donate their properties nor cash, instead they continue to hold and own the properties. The arrangement of Light Home is a bit similar to a low-return patient investment that maintains the value of the property in the long term.
Light Be is now moving onto another stage of growth. Apart from working with individual landlords, Light Be has started to rent apartments from the commerce sector, welfare sector, as well as the Government (Light Housing). It continues to explore various ways to rediscover and reemphasize the great social value of real estate.
What this means for tenants
A Light Home tenant will receive a four-fold protection: rent, lease period, co-tenants and facilities. Firstly, the affordability of the tenants will be taken into account when the Light Home rent is fixed. Secondly, Light Home can provide a maximum of three-years lease period if the situation allows. Thirdly, co-tenants must apply with the referrals of social workers and will be assessed before matching. Fourthly, the safety and sanitation of Light Home and its essential facilities are prioritized. In terms of space, Light Home adopted the standardized area of no less than seven square meter per person in reference to the Public Rental Housing.
With the guarantee of a pleasant living environment, the responsibility of the tenant is to try their best to live a better life. In a maximum lease period of three years, the tenant should gather sufficient confidence and ability to satisfy their next stage housing need after moving out. During the process, Light Home provides the tenants a space with considerate arrangements and encouragement to let them regain confidence and rediscover the joy and challenges of their new lives with a proactive attitude.
How you can help
Light Be aims to provide an environment to encourage the tenants to be self-reliant, at the same time be responsible to landlords for on-time rent payments. They manage the property responsibly and will return the property when the lease ends. If you are considering to rent out your currently owned property, or plan to purchase a property to rent out as a ‘Light Home’, please feel free to contact Light Be by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Light Home’s recent development rely greatly on the voluntary involvement of the commerce sector, construction sector and the charity sector. Their volunteers specialize in property, leasing service, renovation, maintenance, engineering, tutoring, training, employment opportunity, women work, children work, and various professional sectors. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Light Be at email@example.com.