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long-term methods

已有 137 次阅读2019-5-29 18:33

  Hong Kong’s housing disaster cannot await long-term methods

  The Lantau Tomorrow Eyesight will acquire as well long to carry out for any city exactly where 1000's snooze in substandard subdivided lodging

  The intention of Lantau Tomorrow Eyesight is present Hong Kong with far more land for homes. photo: Reuters

  The government’s current unveiling on the charges for its Lantau Tomorrow Vision proposal has divided the city: a single half is concerned at allegedly exorbitant fees, despite the fact that some estimates say the project will most certainly flip in an eventual surplus; another fifty percent appears to check out it as being a panacea to systemic housing troubles.

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  The official pitch is usually that the project can be a long-term solution, designed to manage Hong Kong’s expanding population also to ease the city of its land shortages. All’s honest and noble, but we have to take a stern glance for the stark fact.

  The truth is, the Hong Kong bad can wait now not. Not absolutely everyone has the luxurious to afford to pay for waiting around it out for the promised public housing.

  Not the single mothers having difficulties to lift their kids since they prepare their dinners close to overflowing bathrooms. Not people dependent upon a single, paltry income since they hold out while in the never-ending queues for community housing. Not the 210,000 people residing in 93,000 subdivided homes in 2018.

  Just about 3 for each cent of Hong Kong’s population reside in bodily dangerous, socially exclusionary, and mentally debilitating circumstances.

  The bodily hazards prolong from dire hearth protection laws (particularly in flats converted from abandoned industrial units, these as types in Kwun Tong also to Kwa Wan) to horrifyingly negligible sanitation requirements - nearly 21 tenants would share an individual bathroom. Summers would carry 40 diploma Celsius warmth towards the ramshackle residences, though the winters would go away tenants shivering within the cold.

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  Once i frequented a subdivided flat in the summertime of 2017, I spoke to some single girl who said the frequent turnover of some cubicles, alongside the pervasive feeling of shame and guilt, manufactured it tricky for tenants to sort meaningful connections. They had been strangers in proximity - shackled to their fates in the underbelly of Hong Kong, in no way seen by visitors or maybe the city’s elite.

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  To give credit wherever credit is due, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s government has shown an unprecedented level of willingness (among administrations) to combat the issue of housing shortage. Beyond the Lantau undertaking, the administration has stated 70 per cent in the total housing supply target should be public housing, ensuring that extra plots are kept for this purpose. A vacancy tax drew the ire of speculative investors but would ensure greater turnover rates in housing for middle-class and lower-middle-class homeowners. Lam herself has shown some willingness to consult and engage the general public on prospective solutions into the land supply issue.

  Yet these alternatives are by no means enough. We need immediate measures that supply relief to these residents.

  From a governmental point of view, much a lot more can be done, these kinds of as the construction of interim accommodations with reasonable residing requirements that enable tenants to look ahead to general public housing in dignified circumstances; or maybe the subsidisation of employers to pay workers residing in squalid conditions higher wages to enable them to build up savings for relocation; or the provision of medical support and sanitary items to cage-home residents.

  What can we do as individuals? We can donate resources to charities and organisations that work with the weak in Hong Kong. We could also seek to boost awareness from the issue, among our peers and influential actors, abroad or locally. We could empower the residents of cage households by treating them not as victims but as individuals who are just as intelligent, hard-working and competent as you and I - but who have unfortunately got the short end with the stick and found themselves in destitution.

  Lantau Tomorrow Eyesight may well be an integral part of our city’s future. Yet long-term alternatives are not the panacea. The Hong Kong inadequate can wait no more. We have to deliver to them immediate, feasible and impactful solutions - now.

  Brian YS Wong is an Mphil student of politics (political theory) at Wolfson College, Oxford University

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