overcrowded housing Hong Kong 1

Cramped Living Space, 1



odd odd job volunteer (2)
site struggle construction
tenant resident write/wrote/written
in-law prospect forget/forgot/forgotten
rent standard sell/sold/sold
own double at the mercy of
upset move out pay/paid/paid
hit (2) nervous find/found/found
wage stool (2) sit/sat/sat
earn public (2) rise/rose/risen
empty space (2) authority (2)
piece keep (3) leave/left/left
carry landlord bring/brought/brought
crisis decade write down
wire climb (2) square (4)
cage remain substandard
rate qualify public housing
entitle for ages notice (3)
relief apply (2) appointment
hope at least real estate
offer security make way






It’s seven pm. Leung Kwong Wa has had another long day at work. He does odd jobs around construction sites. Arriving home, the first thing he does is write down the hours he worked.

Leung Kwong Wa, Hong Kong Resident: “I must not forget any days; the boss does not volunteer any money again.”

Leung and his children, wife and mother-in-law have lived for four years in a fifteen square meter apartment in the working-class neighborhood of Kowloon. By Hong Kong standards, the rent of five-hundred euros (500€) a month is cheap.

Leung Kwong Wa, Hong Kong Resident: “There’s not much room, but for people like us, it’s quite large.”

The building has been sold, and the new owner wants to double the rent. If the tenants can’t pay, they’ll have to move out.

Leung Kwong Wa, Hong Kong Resident: “I’m very upset. Where should I find so much money?”

Real estate prices in Hong Kong keep climbing. What the family could rent for 500€ now, is just a small part of an apartment. Kwong Wa spends half of his wages on rent.

Wong Wei Chu, Hong Kong Resident: “This is where I sit when I eat; there’s no room, even for a stool.”

Wong doesn’t earn much money as a cleaning lady. And the rents are always rising. The authorities are emptying more and more old buildings, often to make way for re-development.

Wong had a larger room, until a year ago, then her landlord told her to leave.

Wong Wei Chu, Hong Kong Resident: “He gave me two weeks’ notice, but I had to keep going to work. After work, I brought my things over here. I had to carry my bags, piece by piece.”

The housing crisis in Hong Kong is nothing new: for decades it has struggled to house its people; there are not enough apartments. The poor are the hardest hit. Many thousands live in tiny wire cages.

And there’s little prospect of change: Hong Kong remains one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. And the prices for substandard housing is rising at almost double the rate of other homes.

And that’s although the Leung family qualify for public housing. Officially they are entitled to one after three years of applying. But they have been waiting for ages. At least Mr. Leung has an appointment at the housing department.

Leung Kwong Wa, Hong Kong Resident: “I am a bit nervous. I really hope they will offer us something. I hope it goes fast. It would be such a relief.”

The family is hoping to have more space at a lower price, and greater security: they don’t want to be at the mercy of a private landlord, anymore, who can give notice at any moment.

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Mobile Home, Trailer Home. Leung Kwong Wa is poor or has a hard life because he is lazy. True or false?

Cabin. Does he completely trust his employer? Is his boss totally honest?

Cottage. Is Kwong Wa single? Describe their living accommodation.

Bungalow. The real estate market and rents are stable. Is this right or wrong? Is it static or dynamic?

Family Home, Suburban Home. Is there a market scheme? Do investors and property owners have an agenda, plan, idea or goal?

Semi-Detached Houses. Does the government help working and poor people? Is help fast, slow or in the middle?

Town Houses, Terraced Houses. Renters trust landlords. Is this correct or incorrect?


Apartment, Flat. Is housing cheap, expensive or average or medium priced in your city?

Apartment Block, Block of Flats. Have housing prices been changing over the years?

Apartment Complex, Housing Complex. Many people complain about housing prices. Yes or no? Is there a lot of arguments and debates regarding (affordable) housing?

Condominium. What might be the cause of housing crises?

Mansion, Manor. What might happen in the future?

Castle, Palace, Chateaux.
What should people and the government do?


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