Date
21 September 2017
Grassroots families living in cramped, poorly ventilated subdivided flats find it hard to cope with soaring temperatures during summer. Photo: HKEJ
Grassroots families living in cramped, poorly ventilated subdivided flats find it hard to cope with soaring temperatures during summer. Photo: HKEJ

Subdivided flat dwellers bear brunt of brutal summer heat

Living in the city’s so-called subdivided flats, coffin cubicles and rooftop shacks means not only enduring cramped space but also coping with sweltering temperatures during the hot summer.

Indoor temperatures in these tiny flats, which reflect the city’s worsening housing crisis, peaked at 37 degrees Celsius on June 28, four degrees higher than the outdoor temperature on that day, hk01.com reports, citing a survey conducted by the Society for Community Organization (SoCO).

The non-profit group said its findings were based on actual indoor temperatures taken at 29 caged homes, cubicle flats, subdivided units and rooftop shacks across Hong Kong in late June.

One rooftop shack dweller said the indoor temperatures could go high as 42 degrees.

Some of the residents have air-conditioners at home, but they said they rarely use them for fear of having to pay huge electricity bills.

A 63-year-old man living in a cubicle apartment said he has to take a shower five times a day to cool down from the oppressive heat.

During summer, the respondents said have to spend an average of HK$400 more on electricity bills, water bills and pesticides, Apple Daily reported. 

Additional expenses during the season could amount to more than HK3,000 a month in some cases.

However, the survey found that residents of these tiny flats have a median income of only HK$9,900 a month, which means that hardly anything is left after paying the rent and the utility bills.

Based on its findings, SoCO suggested that the government provide a subsidy of at least HK$3,000 a year for each grassroots family as “high temperature allowance” and allow them to use public swimming pools free of charge.

It also called for a better housing policy that would increase the supply of public homes to accommodate more low-income families.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

TL/YH/RT/CG

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