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Hing Lam Leung stands outside his home atop a Hong Kong high-rise. The city’s leaders have pledged to provide more public housing, but solutions remain years away. 

Hing Lam Leung stands outside his home atop a Hong Kong high-rise. The city’s leaders have pledged to provide more public housing, but solutions remain years away. 

Photo: Peter Yeung/Bloomberg CityLab

CityLab
Housing

Hong Kong Struggles to Tame a Long-Simmering Housing Crisis

With public housing scarce, the city’s poorest residents face increasingly unhealthy living conditions in tiny apartments and sweltering rooftop huts. 

As Hing Lam Leung summits the nine floors of staircases up to his rooftop home in the heart of Hong Kong, the 65-year-old former construction worker points to a tiny hut filled with trash, cigarette butts and syringes.

“One tenant used to live there,” says Leung as he catches his breath; behind him yawns the dizzying skyline of one the world’s most densely populated districts, Yau Ma Tei. “One day he left and never came back.”