25 October 2016
A kitchen, toilet and bathroom all lie in just one room in a tiny dwelling of a Hong Kong resident. Photo by Benny Lam. Source:
A kitchen, toilet and bathroom all lie in just one room in a tiny dwelling of a Hong Kong resident. Photo by Benny Lam. Source:

Photo exhibition to highlight housing woes of underprivileged

The Society for Community Organization (SCO), a non-governmental organization that focuses on human rights and community issues, is preparing to hold a photo exhibition that will throw a spotlight on the cramped living spaces of the poor and the underprivileged in Hong Kong.

The exhibition, set to open early next month, will feature pictures of people living in shoebox-sized flats, rooftop hutments, etc.

The photos, which will depict how the poor are struggling to survive amid unaffordable property prices and inadequate public housing, will be on display at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from October 3 to 9, and later at the Central Oasis in Central Market from October 13 to 26.

Sze Lai-shan, a member of the Executive Committee of SCO, points out that many of the underprivileged are hardworking people who refuse to accept the government’s Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA).

The photo exhibition will aim to depict the hardships faced by the people in the concrete jungle.

As Sing Tao Daily notes, life for the underprivileged in Hong Kong means living in tiny flats or even “coffin-like boxes”.

It cited the case of Tony, a 39-year-old unemployed man, who rents a 15-square-foot “coffin room” in Mong Kok for HK$1,735.

He is one of several residents in a 300-square-foot apartment that houses 22 rental bunk beds in all.

The only thing that differentiates his living space from a “cage house” is that there are wooden partitions between units rather than metal bars.

He told Sing Tao that living in the tiny space is quite depressing. Tony’s problems began after he was laid off last month after working for 16 years as a security guard.

He gave up on the CSSA once, but after struggling to stay afloat with different jobs, he decided to register for it again.

In another case, a 67-year-old woman surnamed Law has been living in a rooftop hut for more than 30 years.

She shares the unit with two other families, all of whom have to climb six flights of stairs every day in order to reach their home.

The house becomes unbearably hot in the summer, but they can’t afford air-conditioning all the time.

According to Housing Authority, there has been a sharp increase in the past decade of the number people waiting for public housing in the city.

The number has almost tripled to 300,000 now, and the average waiting time is 4.1 years.

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