Photo: Sham Shui Po Living Conditions Still Dire, Residents Say

According to a recent government report, Hong Kong’s 86,400 subdivided flats are home for close to 200,000 people.

The Urban Renewal Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society have rolled out revitalization projects in Sham Shui Po, but the impact has yet to be felt for many living in the city’s poorest suburb.

A six-story housing block above the Apliu Street electronic market is home to locals, Mainland Chinese migrants and refugees.

A steep staircase is the only form of access into the building, and proves troubling for elderly and disabled residents.

Yu King Hon has lived in his two-bedroom flat for over 40 years.

The 67-year-old retiree lives with his wife, three adult daughters and one adult son.

“It’s very common for people in this building to live in subdivided flats near people they don’t know and pay just a little less than I do,” he said.

Mr Yu’s rent is HK$4000 a month.

Ushanthan, a 26-year-old Sri Lankan refugee, has been living on the floor above Mr Yu for five years.

He shares his flat with another two Sri Lankan refugees.

“I’m a refugee so I can’t work.”

The government pays the monthly HK$7000 rent for the flat.

Various government agencies have carried out urban revitalization and beautification projects in the suburb over the years, including the installation of seating in public spaces and public art sculptures. | Tanya McGovern
Various government agencies have carried out urban revitalization and beautification projects in the suburb over the years, including the installation of seating in public spaces and public art sculptures. | Tanya McGovern
Man browses stalls along the Apliu Street electronic market. | Tanya McGovern
Man browses stalls along the Apliu Street electronic market. | Tanya McGovern
A real estate agency advertises flats for rent. | Tanya McGovern
A real estate agency advertises flats for rent. | Tanya McGovern
Signs advertise rooms for rent in the apartment complex above: "Cheap rent for suite with one bedroom, one lounge" and "No commission, no deposit". | Tanya McGovern
Signs advertise rooms for rent in the apartment complex above: “Cheap rent for suite with one bedroom, one lounge” and “No commission, no deposit”. | Tanya McGovern
Many buildings in Sham Shui Po only have a central staircase for access. | Tanya McGovern
Many buildings in Sham Shui Po only have a central staircase for access. | Tanya McGovern
Yu King Hon stands in the flat he has lived in for over 40 years. | Tanya McGovern
Yu King Hon stands in the flat he has lived in for over 40 years. | Tanya McGovern
Mr Yu shares this two-bedroom flat with another five relatives. | Tanya McGovern
Mr Yu shares this two-bedroom flat with another five relatives. | Tanya McGovern
Graffiti and electrical wire line the wall of the stairway. | Tanya McGovern
Graffiti and electrical wire line the wall of the stairway. | Tanya McGovern
Exposed wiring and neglected piping is common in old buildings in the neighborhood. | Tanya McGovern
Exposed wiring and neglected piping is common in old buildings in the neighborhood. | Tanya McGovern
Shoes are left on the staircase to the building rooftop. | Tanya McGovern
Shoes are left on the staircase to the building rooftop. | Tanya McGovern
Household possessions and washing hang. | Tanya McGovern
Household possessions and washing hang. | Tanya McGovern
Children’s toys and household objects are dumped on the rooftop of this building. | Tanya McGovern
Children’s toys and household objects are dumped on the rooftop of this building. | Tanya McGovern
Garbage litters the space between buildings. | Tanya McGovern
Garbage litters the space between buildings. | Tanya McGovern
Sri Lankan refugee, Ushanthan, has no living relatives and lives with another two refugees. | Tanya McGovern
Sri Lankan refugee, Ushanthan, has no living relatives and lives with another two refugees. | Tanya McGovern
Ushanthan's living space is confined to one room, with a bed and wardrobe filling the entire space. | Tanya McGovern
Ushanthan’s living space is confined to one room, with a bed and wardrobe filling the entire space. | Tanya McGovern
A jewelry store below Mr Yu and Ushanthan’s housing complex sells ornaments and jewelry made of gold. | Tanya McGovern
A jewelry store below Mr Yu and Ushanthan’s housing complex sells ornaments and jewelry made of gold. | Tanya McGovern
Woman walks through the streets of Sham Shui Po. | Tanya McGovern
Woman walks through the streets of Sham Shui Po. | Tanya McGovern

This photo story was produced for the JOUR7040 Multimedia Journalism course at Hong Kong Baptist University.

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