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Homelessness in Hong Kong: squatter homes got bulldozed in Kwu Tung, problems street sleepers face in HK (26 Mar 2016)


The past few days have been unseasonably cold, rainy and unpleasant. That’s a small inconvenience to those of us with roofs over our heads, but spare a thought for Hong Kong’s homeless. We’re not known as a city brimming over with compassion for people in this situation, but that’s the main topic of our programme tonight. In part two, we look at Hong Kong’s street sleepers who are not only finding that facilities for them are worse than they were ten years ago, but many of them are now being hounded from places where they used to find shelter. Meanwhile, villagers in Kwu Tung have been battling developers, but at least – so they thought - they had a roof over their heads. That was the case until some of their homes were demolished in a scene more reminiscent of land grabs in mainland China. The first step in helping the homeless is recognising the extent of the problem. It might or perhaps might not come as a surprise to discover that the Hong Kong government and civil society organisations don’t even agree on the number of homeless people. In recent years places where they had been sleeping, such as under flyovers or on park benches, have been modified to make it impossible or uncomfortable to do so. Homelessness seems to be a problem that Hong Kong does not really want to confront, but just wishes it will go away …. to somewhere where the presence of such an “unseemly” bunch of individuals would not affect far more important things, such as property prices, or rents.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Saturday, March 26, 2016
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