Date
23 January 2018
The government has been criticized for evicting the homeless without providing a convenient place where they can keep warm.  Photo: HKEJ
The government has been criticized for evicting the homeless without providing a convenient place where they can keep warm. Photo: HKEJ

Govt urged to take good care of homeless amid cold weather

It is the government’s duty to ensure homeless people are well taken care of, especially as the weather in Hong Kong has been quite cold these days, a non-governmental human rights advocacy group said.

In a meeting with officials from the Lands Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Transport Department at the Kwun Tong District Council on Monday, Ng Wai-tung, a community organizer of the Society for Community Organization (SoCO), criticized the government for evicting the homeless from the Kwun Tong Ferry Pier but failing to proactively find a convenient place for them so that they can keep warm, hk01.com reports.

He reminded the government that it has the duty to provide proper accommodation to the homeless.

According to Ng, the Lands Department said in a notice put up at the Kwun Tong Ferry Pier by Kwun Tong Promenade at the end of December that they must leave by Jan. 12.

A 64-year-old homeless man, who has been residing at the pier for one and half years, said no government personnel ever contacted or approached him, let alone offered him a shelter.

He said he knows that there is a temporary cold shelter in Lam Tin but it is difficult for him to get there because it is located on a hilltop.

The homeless man expected the authorities to take further action to evict people like him as a sea race festival is scheduled to be held there from Jan. 17 to 31.

Ng said although the government provides multiple cold shelters in the city, not all of the locations are convenient for the homeless who have to bring their personal belongings. 

For instance, the homeless have to climb up a hill in order to reach the shelter at Tsz Wan Shan (South) Estate Community Centre.

That is why many of them would rather stay where they are instead of going to the shelters, Ng said as he urged the government to review the locations of existing cold shelters.

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TL/JC/CG

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