The government's plan to build light public housing flats that can help 100,000 people is worth supporting, Acting Chief Executive Eric Chan said on Tuesday.
Officials have earmarked eight plots for the construction of 30,000 temporary homes. The government's selection of Kai Tak as one of the sites has drawn some objections.
Some 20 Kai Tak residents protested on Tuesday in front of the Central Government Offices against the plan to build 10,700 flats on Olympic Avenue, saying the construction would delay the area's development into a business district.
The group also criticised the authorities for failing to consult people.
Housing Secretary Winnie Ho says no consultation was needed given the urgency to help people living in poor conditions such as subdivided flats.
Ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Chan reiterated that the plots identified for light public housing will usually be occupied for five years, before being handed back for the originally intended purpose.
"During these few years, we can help possibly more than 100,000 citizens, and address their desperate housing needs. I think it's worth going ahead with this project," Chan said.
"We've received criticism from time to time that while Hong Kong is an advanced, international city, how come there's still a section of the population living in undesirable conditions? So the government is taking an important step to tackle this problem. While we are taking this step, we need understanding from society."
Chan also said the light public housing will bring social benefits that cannot be measured by money, as the flats will provide better living conditions and help the development of children currently staying in subdivided flats.