CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Poorer you are the more you pay

HONG KONG (SE): Results of a survey conducted by the Caritas Grassroots Development Project of private rental in Hong Kong were released on September 25.

The survey found that many low income families have no choice but to pay the high rental for subdivided units during their long waiting time for public housing.

The project interviewed a total of 363 people in rented squats, village houses and private properties that are classified as Private Domestic Property in Shum Shui Po, Hong Kong East, Kwai Chung and Yuen Long between August and September last year

Over 70 per cent of those interviewed live in Shum Shui Po and nearly 60 per cent of all respondents to the survey said they live in less than 100 square feet. Around 76 per cent pointed out that they are waiting for public housing. 

Among them, 159 people had already fulfilled the requirements for flat allocation, but 60 per cent said they have been waiting for over three years.

However, over 84 per cent of all respondents claimed they have not yet been allocated a public flat.

More than 70 per cent of them said they are living in a subdivided flat, with 14 per cent pointing out that they have to share a toilet and kitchen with other families.

The average living area per person only equates to 50 square feet.

The mean level of rent per square foot was discovered to be $35.80 and nearly 17 per cent said they pay as much as $50 per square feet.

The survey found that the small, subdivided units are renting at a far higher rate per square foot than Private Domestic Property, which in June this year averaged out at only $24.96.

Around 34 per cent of respondents said that rent accounts for 30 to 50 per cent of their income, while 21.2 per cent said it accounts for more than 50 per cent. These figures show that housing rental accounts for a higher percentage of income in lower income families than the higher brackets, which further aggravates the poverty level.

Most respondents singled out limited living space as being the major problem they face, but others include poor hygiene, ventilation, no elevators and problems with security.

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