Between 2019-2020 there was a 22% increase in the number of registered street sleepers – up to 1,423. But agreement between non-profits serving this community is that the actual number is far higher.
When ImpactHK asked 10 people currently living on the streets, none of them said that they were registered as a ‘street sleeper’. This shows that the true number is likely to be much higher than the official figure.
Social issues that cause homelessness
There is a housing crisis in Hong Kong. The monthly rent allowance from the Social Welfare Department is $2515, but the average cost of a bedspace in a 10.5 sq ft coffin home is $2,500, so many people end up on the streets.
The average waiting time for public rental housing has climbed to 5.6 years – for single males it is as much as 3-4 times longer. And in the private rental market there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing.
Unemployment reached a 15 year high in 2020 due to the pandemic, resulting in widespread job loss in Hong Kong and an increase homelessness.
Personal challenges that people face
Many of the people we work with are facing physical or mental health problems, or issues with alcohol and drug use. We also work with adults who have intellectual disabilities and face literacy or numeracy barriers. Or they may lack confidence in their own skills and abilities and not recognise their own strength and resilience.
Many people who become homeless had traumatic experiences during childhood or come from challenging family backgrounds. Sometimes it was abuse, other times it was an unstable environment, such as growing up in the care system.
These experiences can put people at risk from an early age – and can even lead to drug or alcohol dependence in adolescence. For some, substance abuse and addiction is one of the things that contributes to them becoming homeless. For others it is a coping mechanism that follows after they lose their home and is an attempt to deal with the many difficulties they face. Poor mental health is extremely widespread among people who experience homelessness, and many have never had sufficient diagnoses, treatments or help.
It is a complex mix of factors that forces someone to become homeless.
At ImpactHK we have a vision for an inclusive Hong Kong where everyone has a safe place to call home and cares for their neighbour....Who We Are
Non-profit ImpactHK was founded in 2017 by long-time resident of Hong Kong, Jeff Rotmeyer. But our journey really started in 2014 with Jeff’s simple aim...Our Story
At ImpactHK we are proud of our diverse and inclusive approach to growing the team; around half of our staff team have lived experience of...Our Team
29 is our community centre in Tai Kok Tsui that is open to the homeless every day of the year and serves more than 3,000...Our Centres
We are grateful for every gift donated to ImpactHK and are careful to spend the funds where they are most needed. Below you can see...Our Finances