- Individuals served in FY2016: 1,140
- Volunteers engaged in FY2016: 1,109
- Population: Over 7.1 million
- Urbanization: 100 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 82.9 years
- Unemployment rate: 3.6 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 of the need for decent, affordable housing and harnessing resources to improve living conditions including access to clean water and safe sanitation for families across the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.
The housing need in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, people live in a city that is home to some of the world’s richest people as well as some 960,000 people who live below the poverty line, according to government data published in 2015. Not all in this prosperous society are enjoying the same basic right of having a decent home. According to research done by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the number of low-income families is on the rise. More than one third of low-income families rent rooms, cubicles or bed space. One in every four persons in the low-income group is aged above 65.
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 repairs 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, non- governmental organizations and celebrities.
Project Home Works
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong mobilizes individual volunteers, and others from schools and corporations to help repair the homes of low-income families, the elderly and the physically disabled 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 to support disaster response efforts in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Grants from the Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government have enabled Habitat Hong Kong to respond to disasters in China, the Philippines, Nepal and Vietnam. These included the distribution of water, sanitation and hygiene kits to flood-affected families in Vietnam; reconstruction in the Philippines following 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan and help for affected Nepali families after 2015’s earthquake. Habitat also distributed relief items such as cooking oil, torches and blankets to more than 6,335 families who were hit by the April 2013 earthquake in Sichuan province, China.
Engaging with volunteers
For the financial year ended 30 June 2016, more than 1,100 volunteers from Hong Kong took part in Habitat’s Global Village builds in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere. Within Hong Kong, student or corporate volunteers help to repair homes of low-income households, the elderly or disadvantaged groups under Project Home Works. 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 families in need of decent housing.
Meet a Habitat family
Grandpa and Grandma Chan, in their 80s, were living a happy life for years in an old stone house in the fishing village of Lei Yue Mun until a typhoon struke in July 2014. With the water pipes destroyed, they had no reliable source of water supply. After failing to repair the water pipes despite several attempts, the elderly couple had to resort to fetching hot water from the public washroom, about a 20-minute walk away. The water is only available for a few hours a day. "You’ll need to walk really slowly on your way back, so that you won't sweat again after all the effort," said Grandma Chan.
By soliciting donations through an online crowdfunding platform, Habitat Hong Kong helped the Chans to apply for a water meter license, and hired technicians to install new water pipes. In mid-July 2015, the couple could finally have hot water again.