- Individuals served in FY20: 730*
* Through repairs
- Volunteers engaged in FY20: 1,440
- Population: 7.47 million
- Life expectancy: 84.9 years
- Unemployment rate: 7%
- Population living below poverty line: 21.4%
Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department
Habitat for Humanity in Hong Kong
Based on a government report in 2020, 1.4 million people in Hong Kong were living below the poverty line. The city also has the second highest number of billionaires in the world, according to Forbes. For the eleventh year running, Hong Kong is the world’s least affordable housing market based on the 2020 Demographia study. Government figures in December 2020 showed about 99,000 families in Hong Kong were living in cramped, subdivided residential units known as “coffin homes.”
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to meet the need for decent, affordable housing for families locally and across the Asia-Pacific region. Grants from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Disaster Relief Fund have supported Habitat’s responses to 13 disasters regionally.
How Habitat addresses the need in Hong Kong
Project Home Works
Habitat Hong Kong’s flagship home renovation program focuses primarily on supporting vulnerable families living in substandard living conditions by providing essential maintenance services. Habitat’s volunteers work alongside licensed contractors to repair or renovate the homes of low-income households including older people, single parents and people with disabilities. These vulnerable families predominantly live in public rental housing and in 2020, we began serving families in subdivided units through an extensive home hygiene kit distribution service. Deep cleaning services have also been included in response to local communities’ needs for improved hygiene at home.
Ahead of the HKSAR Chief Executive’s Policy Address 2020, Habitat submitted a paper to the leader’s office urging the government to use the pandemic as an opportunity to make policy changes. Such changes will help improve inadequate living conditions so housing can be the first line of defense against COVID-19, and lay the foundations for sustainable, resilient communities in the future. Habitat has also been engaging with a government task force looking into rent control and other regulations to protect tenants of subdivided flats. At a meeting with the task force at the end of 2020, Habitat Hong Kong shared innovative models of tenancy control and rental housing case studies collated from the Habitat global network.
For the financial year ended June 30, 2020, Habitat engaged 1,440 students, corporate and individual volunteers through Project Home Works and Project School Works. These volunteers helped to repair the homes of 96 low-income households as well as clean and upgrade 13 schools for children living in underserved districts. In January 2020, as a part of the annual Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign, students from three high schools participated in Project Home Works and renovated six homes. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to engage with volunteers through skills-based volunteering in graphic design, translation, board governance, research and other projects.