- Individuals served in FY17: 1,180
- Volunteers engaged in FY17: 1,095
- Population: Over 7.35 million
- Urbanization: 100 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 84 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.8 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 19.6 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Hong Kong
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong is dedicated to raising awareness and harnessing resources to support vulnerable and marginalized families secure decent, affordable housing, in Hong Kong, mainland China, across the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.
The housing need in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is home to some of the world’s richest people yet more than 1.32 million people in the prosperous city live below the poverty line, according to government data in 2017. The city was named the least affordable housing market for the eighth year running in a 2018 study by urban planning policy consultancy Demographia. About 210,000 low-income individuals in Hong Kong are renting rooms, cubicles or bed spaces.
How Habitat addresses the need in Hong Kong
Habitat provides a hand-up to low-income families, the elderly and the disabled in Hong Kong through home renovations by local volunteers. Habitat also leverages on Hong Kong’s status as a premier Asian city to raise funds and promote its mission of building homes, communities and hope. Partners include corporations, schools, nongovernmental organizations and celebrities.
Project Home Works
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong mobilizes individual volunteers, and others from schools and corporations to help renovate the homes of low-income families, the elderly and people living with disabilities in Hong Kong.
Raising funds for post-disaster reconstruction
Leveraging on the strengths of a well-regulated banking system and a strategic geographical location, Habitat Hong Kong takes up the role of a fundraising hub for the region and beyond. Grants from the Disaster Relief Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government have enabled Habitat Hong Kong to respond to disasters in China, the Philippines, Nepal, Fiji, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. This has enabled the distribution of water, sanitation and hygiene kits after flooding in Vietnam and Nepal in 2017, two cyclones affecting Fiji and Bangladesh in 2016, the Nepal earthquake in 2015, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2014, and an earthquake in Sichuan, China, in 2013.
Engaging with volunteers
For the financial year ended June 30, 2017, more than 380 volunteers from Hong Kong took part in Habitat’s Global Village builds in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere. Within Hong Kong, 949 student, public or corporate volunteers helped to repair homes of 234 low-income households, the elderly or disadvantaged groups under Project Home Works, in same period. 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 for Habitat. Habitat Hong Kong recently launched Project School Works, a one-day program for secondary school students and volunteers. Groups play a board game developed by Habitat Hong Kong called “My City,” designed to serve as a neutral platform to discuss the sensitive topic of housing in Hong Kong, and then wrap up with a mural painting activity. This raises awareness of shelter issues while also improving the school environment.
Meet a Habitat family
In the past, Grandma Chan’s preferred wear for cooking was a plastic bag that she wore over her head. The “hat” stopped flaking paint from the ceiling from landing on her while her husband Hai Lai had to use a pot lid to cover ingredients as he handed them to her. The couple has lived in Kwun Tong Tsui Ping, a low-income housing estate, for more than eight years and cooking became stressful for them. The situation improved after Habitat’s student volunteers helped them out as part of Project Home Works in July 2016. The volunteers scraped off flaking paint and smoothed the kitchen ceiling among other work. After a fresh coat of paint, the home looked as good as new. Now, the couple can enjoy meals with their granddaughter in a clean and comfortable home.