An upcoming fundraising event in Hong Kong featuring photos of cubicles and cage homes occupied by the city’s poorest people is once again shining light on the plights of cage-home dwellers that have shown no signs of improvement in the past 25 years.
The Hong Kong ArtWalk, being held on March 12, will feature an exhibition titled Living at Limit, showcasing eight photos of cubicles or cage homes and the abysmal conditions some of Hong Kong’s impoverished are reduced to.
The images by Hong Kong-based photographer Benny Lai will be shown along with an installation recreating a cage home.
Ho Hei-wah, head of the NGO Society for Community Organization (Soco), told SCMP that the problem is getting worse.
“A home is not just about a place to sleep. It affects the emotional and psychological well-being of a whole family,” he said. “It’s not a new topic.”
The Post spoke to Tang Man-wai, who’s been living in a cage home for 30 years. He said he applied for public housing a few months back when doctors found mold in his lungs, but the public housing waiting list for a single person like Tang can take more than a decade.
Soco knows of around 1,000 cage homes, subdivided flats and cubicles but many more are thought to exist. Soco’s Sze Lai-shan has estimated that at least 20,000 of Hong Kong’s poorest people live under such conditions.
“[In terms of] poverty alleviation, nothing will work if you don’t deal with the housing situation,” Ho was quoted as saying. “And so far, what the government has done is vastly inadequate. The situation will get worse in the coming four to five years.”
As less than seven percent of the land in Hong Kong is designated for residential use, demand for housing is high. Oxfam estimates that at least 10 percent of the city’s population live below the poverty line, leaving families to cramp into claustrophobic living spaces like these “shoebox” apartments, the conditions of which are at times unfathomable.
[Image via CRI Asia]