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UNIVERSITY OF BATH HONG KONG PUBLIC AFFAIRS & SOCIAL SERVICE SOCIETY CHRISTMAS PROJECT 2018

T H E H O M E L E S S

「看見那些不被看見的人」 Let’s see those who are not seen

無 家 者


香港的無家者 根據香港社會福利署的調查報告,香港在2017年已有超過1000名無家者,比 2013年的數據增加了51%。然而,有非政府研究報告則估計無家者人口其實大 概2000,足足是官方人數的兩倍。無家者的人數持續增長其實反映了香港各種 社會問題,例如上升的物價和樓價、申請公屋的等候時間和供不應求的臨時收 容中心宿位。 同時,由於不少市民投訴無家者的棲身之所影響市容,政府人員仍然頻密地進 行「清場」。增加着的無家者人口令驅趕行動每況愈下,每次驅逐後都會少一 個的容身之所。這又是不是政府扼殺無家者生存空間的手段呢?

The Homeless in Hong Kong According to the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, there are more than 1000 registered homeless individuals in 2017, which is a 51% rise since 2013. However, independent researchers estimated the homeless population is in fact around 2000, twice the official figure. This continuous growth of homeless individuals in Hong Kong is the result of the various social problems such as housing issues and limited spaces in temporary accommodations for the homeless. Meanwhile, government officials are still routinely conducting clearances due to the complaints from the community and illegal homeless shelters. The situation is made worse by the rise in homeless population, leaving limited options to go after every eviction. Is this just a miserable cycle that the government has created to the homeless individuals in Hong Kong?


HOMELESSNESS


平等.分享.行動 深水埗是一個有最多無家者聚集的區域。由於這裏是全港物價最低的地區之 一,以及設有多個天橋,因此不少無家者都選擇在那裡居住。 在12月19日,我們一行十人在深水埗與街上的無家者分享在士多買了的一些食 品和飲料。分享期間,我們以這些物質來打開與無家者的話題。 Sham Shui Po is the district that is most affected by poverty and has the greatest number of homeless individuals in Hong Kong. As it is known as the area that has the lowest prices for daily necessities as well as multiple flyovers in Hong Kong, it has attracted a large number of rough sleepers there. On 19th of December, we walked around Shum Shui Po and shared some daily necessities to any homeless individuals we had encountered. Prior to the walk, we bought some food and drinks in small stores and the wet market. When we shared the groceries, it was used as a way of initiating conversations with the homeless.


參加者感受分享 Participants’ sharing


總括來說,即使我期望與活動中遇到的無家者有更多談話的機會,我明白他們 要向着陌生人分享自己的經歷有多麼困難。不過我覺得最重要的是,能夠向大 家見證香港無家者多常見這個事實。 最令我心碎的一刻絕對是我們到達通州街公園的時候。 三十多名無家者聚集在 那裡,但我們並沒有足夠的資源與他們平均分享。作為義工,就這樣看着公園 裏的無家者沒有得到任何幫助而離開是十分痛苦的。這讓我意識到只透過這些 一次性的行動去分享食物和飲料,我們並不能奢望減少無家者嚴重性。 透過平等.分享.行動,我意識到我們作為學生,其實為無家者收集大量資源 的能力非常有限。因此,在活動期間,我希望看到或聽到任何來自香港政府幫 助的證據。然而,在活動的最後十五分鐘,一位無家者與我們分享了他的故 事,這與我的期望完全相反。他提及到他幾次被偷盜都被警方或食環署草草了 事。此外,食環署還多次被驅趕,因為某些特定地點「不適合無家者逗留」。 他更補充說,政府之前對其他人類似的問題提供了幫助,然而他卻依然沒有。 雖然未知道他的完整故事,但我有些問題想留給大家思考 - 政府應否為無家者提 供選擇性的幫助?將他們集中在指定區域是否合理?如果是,應怎麼決定這些 指定區域的位置?又由誰來決定? Overall, even though I expected more conversations with the homeless individuals throughout the event, I understood how difficult it was for them to have to open up to a group of strangers. Still, I felt that it was just as important to show our members the prevalence of homelessness is in Hong Kong. To me, the most heartbreaking moment was definitely when we arrived at Tung Chau Street Park. More than 30 homeless individuals were gathered there, but we didn’t have enough resources to share with them. As a volunteering group that intended to share supplies with those in need, it was painful to simply leave the rough sleepers behind. It made me realize one-off events that aim to share food and drinks are only temporary attempts in reducing the severity of homelessness.   As students, we have limited capability to gather substantial resources for homeless individuals. Therefore, during the event, I was hoping to see or hear about the evidence of aid and support from the Hong Kong government. However, at the end of our walk, a rough sleeper shared his story, which sadly contradicted with my expectations. He mentioned that the police or FEHD turned a blind eye to his multiple incidents of stolen personal items. Also, he is regularly kicked out of places that the FEHD regards to be ‘not appropriate for homelessness’. Moreover, the frustration comes from the fact that the government had previously provided help to those with similar issues, yet he has not received any support. Even though his full story remains unknown, but I would like to leave a couple of questions for you - is it justifiable for the government to provide selective help to homeless individuals? Is it reasonable to concentrate them in a designated area? If so, where should they be located? And who gets to decide the location?

Vicky Hui, Year 2


「平等。分享。行動」倡導資源共享,每個人(給予者和接受者)都應該非常 重視資源。透過此行動,我們希望捐贈者能注意那些不得不在街頭消磨時間的 人,而且提醒我們並非所有無家可歸的人都與酒精中毒/吸毒有關。有些人由於 完全不可預見的情況而被迫陷入這種狀況。在這種情況下,難道一筆免費資金 就可以幫助他們擺脫無家可歸,甚至脫離貧困嗎? 現時香港社會尚未有可持續性地幫助人們擺脫無家可歸的途徑,而逼遷露宿者 亦絕對不會減少問題。儘管非政府組織和政府有提供長達一至六個月的臨時住 宿,但此仍然不能有效地改善露宿者的財務狀況。 我認為,提供資源對於實現改善露宿者的財務狀況這一點至關重要。而且通過 這項服務活動,我對香港露宿者的苦況有更深入的了解,這都鼓勵我去更深入 研究社會問題。 The movement advocates for the sharing of resources with the emphasis of everyone (the giver and recipient) being on par with each other. This movement encourages us, as givers, to respect those who have to spend time on the streets and it reminds us that not all homeless individuals are associated with alcoholism/drugs, some are forced into this situation due to totally unforeseeable circumstances. In this case, would a lump sum of free money help them get out of homelessness, and most importantly, poverty? Unfortunately, there have not been enough sustainable paths to help people to transition out of homelessness. Simply evacuating the people does not diminish the problem. Even though NGOs and the government have been offering subsided dormitories, the length of stay, ranging from one to six months, is inevitably insufficient for people to improve their financial situation. I believe that the provision of resources, both tangible and intangible, is crucial for enablement. Via this service activity, we have a better understanding of the homeless situation in Hong Kong and it has encouraged me to delve deeper into the research of social issues.

Crystal Cheung, Year 2


在聖誕節假期期間,巴斯大學香港同學們抽身在一晚上在深水埗進行露宿者探 訪活動。我們預計捐贈罐頭食物和樽裝飲品會較為有益,特別對於長期擺放, 正當我以為這會是一次例行公事,與我之前所設想的沒有分別, 我卻不能設想深 刻接下來的經歷會有多麼深刻, 會有多大感觸, 使我投筆寫下這篇文章。之前礙 於年少輕狂不懂事,加上缺乏對時事的觸覺, 令我一直不明白活動的背後意義目 的, 到底為何我要花時間服務一些我從來不認識的人?看見身邊義工們都熱血沸 騰,我自比不上,感覺非常不自在,很多時候我只會待在旁邊,偶然一兩句泛 泛之談,已是很好。 這一次卻不同,活動一開始,食物飲料派了沒多少,有一位無家可歸的伯伯, 目側大約八十多歲,可能比實際年齡大,歲月的滄桑往往在貧窮的面上更易留 下。他告訴我,白天在街道上擺賣,在沒有房租的情況下,才剛剛夠滿足生活 餬口,卻要懼怕被食環處職員逼迫,每天工作是冒著被沒收維生工具的風險。 他其實大可以領取綜援和長者生活津貼,以逸待勞,但是他堅持憑著努力養活 自己,是維持自尊的最後途徑。即使如此,更令我無奈是,原來這種不公義和 壓迫在香港較貧窮地區是非常常見的,而受害者往往是身處食物鏈最低層的, 食環處職員的冷漠正是一例。 另外一位露宿者,年約五十,膚色黝黑,或許是長期室外工作,暴露在太陽下 的關係,在他搭的帳篷暗淡燈光底下,他目光依然如炬,給人感覺是個有鬥 志,積極向上的傢伙。他慨嘆小時候沒有受教育的機會,沒有一技旁身,現在 老了很難找到晉升發展的機會,只能從事體力性的工作。雖然對於將來的未 知,他坦承是有點不安,但日子還是要照樣過。事實上,很多人,特別是老年 人,在無法控制的情況流离失所,我們卻瞧不起他們,卻視他們為二等公民; 正當我們坐在沙發上,享受著舒適溫馨的家,他們卻在為生活掙扎和奮鬥;面 對我們無法想像的痛苦和困難,我們只懂得批評議論,說他們懶惰,邪惡,值 得羞恥。 我們都知道,社會不平等和收入差距是困擾香港的主要社會問題。目前香港 有1403名登記市民被迫流落街頭,還有更多有高風險人士,住在籠屋和板間 房。1403好像是一個小數字,然而,每個數字所代表的的,一個面孔,一個名 字,一個身份,一個故事,最重要的是,跟你和我一樣,一個香港市民。


During the Christmas holiday, members of Bath HKPASS spent an evening visiting homeless citizens in Sham Shui Po. Anticipating their needs in advance, we thought canned foods, bottled drinks would be ideal for long-term storage. Just as I thought that this would simply be another usual homeless visit, that I had already seen everything on the news, I was about to be struck by the experience. For the first time, I was mature enough to have deep heartfelt conversations with homeless people. Being marginalised by society, I could tell they were struggling to find their own identity, which struck a chord with me, as I faced similar struggles during my own adolescent years. An elderly living on the streets, aged 80 or so, shared his experience of being constantly berated and even had his gear confiscated by officials from the Food and Hygiene Department for hawking on pedestrian pavements. He could have earned more and worked less from receiving welfare, but that was his last-ditch attempt to maintain his own dignity and self-respect. Such a blatant display of injustice and lack of compassion for the disadvantaged is common in poorer regions in Hong Kong, which I myself was shielded from and have never been exposed to. Another middle-aged man, with a tanned skin tone and laser-sharp gaze, even under the dim lights in his self-built tent, told me he never had the opportunity of education to learn skill-sets to maintain a livelihood. In fact, a lot of people, particularly the elderly, are forced to live on the streets due to circumstances out of their control, yet we look down on them as if they are second-class citizens. They may have struggled, strived more than us and faced unimaginable pain and difficulties, yet we deem them as lazy, wicked, ashamed, whilst sitting on a sofa with the undeserving comforts of a cosy home. It is easy to reduce all of what I have described into simple facts and terms, statistics and figures. We all know that social inequality and income disparity are major social issues plaguing Hong Kong. Currently, there are 1403 registered citizens without a home, with many more on the verge of homelessness, living in cage homes and subdivided units. Yet each figure in the statistics represent a face, a name, an identity, a story, and most importantly, a fellow Hong Kong citizen.

Heinberg Chan, Year 1


香港是全球經濟最繁忙的城市之一。在活動當日,我沒想到會發現一個聚集着 這麼多無家者的地方。首先,我們在深水埗找到了一條有木屋的小巷,在那裏 為無家者提供了一些水和零食。他們之後提議我們去一個公園分享物資,因為 那裏有更多有需要的人。我們到達之後竟然看到三十到四十位無家者,不過可 惜的是,我們沒有足夠的食物和水來分享給他們。看見無家者中有的行動不方 便,有的在忍受寒冷,令我感到非常沮喪。 平等.分享.行動讓我意識到香港的住屋問題多麼嚴重。我見其實他們很多人 都有不錯的個人物品例如電話,但可惜的是他們仍然缺乏着一個最基本的「瓦 遮頭」。我覺得雖然我們確實幫助了社區的一小部分人,但如果香港的房屋價 格持續上漲,問題只會持續存在。 Hong Kong is one of the economically busiest cities in the world. Throughout the Christmas SS, I did not expect to have found so many homeless individuals gathered in one area. We firstly found an alley in Sham Shui Po with multiple wooden houses. We gave the homeless people some water and snacks for the night. After this, we were told there was a larger covered area with people who were more in need than them. When we arrived, we were shocked to see thirty to forty people and unfortunately, we did not have enough food and water to share with all of them. It was quite depressing to see the state that they were in, some had disabilities and many of them were coughing because it was a cold day. After encountering the homeless individuals, it has made me realize the severity of the Hong Kong housing problem. Many of them had affordable goods such as phones and blankets, yet they are suffering in the cold and trying to survive without proper, permanent shelter. Overall, I feel like we did help the community, but the problem would persist if the price of housing continues to rise.

Zifi Tung, Year 1


在聖誕節假期裏,我們去了深水埗探訪無家者。我們在附近士多和街市買了一 些食物,希望與他們分享。一開始,我們找不到任何無家者,我本來還很高興 香港人的社會地位終於得到改善了。 原來我開心得太早了,一小時後我們遇到了一些無家者並與他們聊天。最令人 心碎的一刻是我們到達通州街公園的時候,我們看到大約二十位無家者,不過 我們沒有足夠的資源與他們全部分享。當我們清楚知道他們需要幫助的時候卻 又離開他們,令我感到十分悲傷。平等.分享.行動顛覆了我對香港這個知名 國際城市的印象。這是一個非常有意義的經歷,讓我見證了香港貧富懸殊的嚴 重性。 During the Christmas holiday, we went to Sham Shui Po to visit homeless people. We bought some food and wanted to share with them. In the beginning, we couldn’t find any homeless individuals. I was pleased to see how the social status of people in Hong Kong has improved throughout the years. After an hour, we managed to meet some homeless individuals and have a chat with them. However, the most heartbreaking moment was the time we arrived at Tung Chau Street Park. We saw around 20 homeless individuals and we didn’t have enough material left to share with them. It was sorrowful to leave them when we clearly knew that they would need help. It overthrew my impression that Hong Kong is an international city. Seeing this was a valuable experience to understand the severity of the polarisation between the rich and the poor.

Jeff Lau, Year 1


「看見那些不被看見的人」 Let’s see those who are not seen

2018 Christmas Social Service Project

Profile for Bath HKPASS

Bath HKPASS: Christmas SS Project 2018  

Bath HKPASS: Christmas SS Project 2018  

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