- Individuals served in FY18: 1,180
- Volunteers engaged in FY18: 1,567
- Population: Over 7.48 million
- Urbanization: 100 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 84.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.8 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 20.1 percent
Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department
Habitat for Humanity in Hong Kong
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong was founded in 2004. Over the past 15 years, we have helped raise funds and awareness for Habitat projects across the Asia-Pacific region, providing a hand up to families in need of decent and affordable homes.
The housing need in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is home to some of the world’s richest people, yet according to government data, more than 1.3 million people in the city live below the poverty line at the end of 2017. Hong Kong was named the least affordable housing market for the ninth year running in a 2019 study by urban planning policy consultancy Demographia. About 210,000 low-income individuals in Hong Kong are living in sub-divided units, renting rooms, cubicles or bed spaces. A 2017 study of 204 families by the Kwai Chung Subdivided Flat Residents Alliance found that the average living space per person was only 50 square feet (over 4.6 square meters) or about half the size of a standard parking space.
How Habitat addresses the need in Hong Kong
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong, mobilizes individual volunteers, schools and corporations to help renovate the homes of low-income families, older persons and people living with disabilities in Hong Kong though Project Home Works. In partnership with local social service nongovernmental organizations, we identify families most in need, secure sponsorship from partners to fund the renovations, and recruit volunteers to carry out the work. Our Project Home Works supporting partners include corporations, churches, clubs, associations, schools and universities. For Project School Works, together with our corporate partners, we provide mural painting and run activities to highlight housing issues and discuss solutions with students in some of Hong Kong’s most underserved areas. A transformed school environment encourages school attendance and improves the learning of children in low-income districts. We also raise awareness of housing issues including the living conditions of low-income families in public housing through social media, direct mail, street fundraisers and community engagement events.
Project Home Works
Volunteers from corporations, churches, clubs, associations, schools and universities lend a hand to Habitat under Project Home Works. They work with construction workers to make homes cleaner, healthier and safer for low-income families, older persons and people living with disabilities. The volunteers help to remove dangerous old paint debris from ceilings and provide painting services to resurface ceilings and walls.
Raising funds for post-disaster reconstruction
In Hong Kong, Habitat acts as a fundraising hub for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Grants from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Disaster Relief Fund have so far allowed Habitat Hong Kong to respond to multiple natural disasters in the region. The government fund provided for the distribution of kits for emergency shelter, household needs, and water, sanitation and hygiene following flooding in India (2018) and Vietnam and Nepal (2017), cyclones in Fiji and Bangladesh (2016), earthquakes in Nepal (2015), Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2014) and the earthquake in mainland China’s Sichuan province (2013).
Engaging with volunteers
For the financial year ended June 30, 2018, a total of 443 volunteers from Hong Kong took part in Habitat’s Global Village builds in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Within Hong Kong, 1,214 student, public or corporate volunteers helped to repair the homes of 245 low-income households, older persons or disadvantaged groups under Project Home Works. Habitat Hong Kong also takes part in the annual Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign that engages youth volunteers in advocating, raising funds and building homes with families. Our HYLB program takes youth and young professionals to mainland China to build homes in rural areas. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Women Build was introduced in 2018. The following year, Habitat Hong Kong worked with local NGOs to renovate the living spaces of vulnerable mothers and their babies, teenaged girls and older women.
Meet a Habitat family
Avid gardeners may welcome the effect of a spring breeze on their flowers. This was not the case for 90-year-old Grandma Ho. “When there was a strong wind, paint flakes dropped from my ceiling, hurting my flowers. It made me sad!” Grandma Ho has 15 potted plants in her living room with orchids being her favorite. While her plants bring her great pleasure, she was not able to enjoy them as much due to the deteriorating condition of the ceiling in her home in Lei Muk Shue Estate. In January 2018, six volunteers from the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers’ Civil Division helped Grandma Ho to fix her ceiling. They were both surprised and delighted to learn how important flowers were to Grandma Ho. Through their efforts, she is once again able to enjoy the fruits of her labor.