Hong Kong Coffin Homes a Symptom of Social Inequality

When it comes to housing, Hong Kong is the most unaffordable place on earth. In fact, a lack of affordable homes is Hong Kong’s biggest social problem. Soaring rental prices have forced the poorest members of Hong Kong society into so-called ‘coffin homes’.

An Insult to Human Dignity
Some of these homes are so small that the inhabitants don’t even have enough room to stretch out their legs when lying down. In fact, the situation is so bad that the United Nations has condemned the coffin homes as an insult to human dignity.

Photos published online show residents living in horribly cramped conditions ranging from tiny – and illegal – rooftop shacks to metal cages and shoebox apartments. Often, dozens of people have to share a single toilet and sink.

One woman with two young children lives in a tiny windowless cubicle that is only 120-square feet. She pays £447 a month in rent, which is half her monthly income. The space is so small that her children don’t have enough room to do their homework.

An elderly man lives in a small coffin home that is only 1m x 2m. It is barely large enough for a sleeping bag, electric fan, and small colour TV.

Young People in Despair
The coffin homes are a far cry from the luxury apartments enjoyed by Hong Kong’s wealthy elite. One activist said the housing problem in Hong Kong was so bad that young people despaired of ever owning their own home.

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