A concern group representing ethnic minorities held a rally outside the government headquarters in Tamar to seek equal access to public rental housing.
Hong Kong’s housing woes affect not only low-income Chinese households but also many ethnic minority families, particularly those who only have little command of the English language, according to the Hong Kong Ethnic Minority Concern Group on Equal Access to Government Services, formerly known as Hong Kong Pakistani Concern Group on Public Housing Application.
The group organized the demonstration to coincide with the start of this year’s Commission on Poverty Summit on Saturday.
A spokesman for the group noted that the standard application forms for public housing are only available in English and traditional Chinese, and no translation into any of the ethnic minority languages is provided.
The group said it would be easier for applicants belonging to ethnic minorities to fill in the forms in English when they are provided with printed forms in their native language.
The application submission is often prolonged due to the absence of interpreters, the spokesman said, adding that miscommunication often occurs between the applicants and government personnel as a result.
The waiting list for applicants with large households is long and relevant information such as housing unit supply, allocation status, and their locations, is usually unavailable for public view.
Some big families end up splitting their applications as it is easier to get adjacent flats for smaller households.
The group said these problems not only cause inconvenience but may result in discrimination against ethnic minorities.
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