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"Coffin homes" sprout in Hong Kong

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 01:23

Home prices have bucked government measures aimed at reining them in, spurring tiny ''coffin homes.'' Fred Katayama reports.

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This tiny space - just 20 square feet - is what Wong Ziwa calls home. Such low-ceilinged called "coffin homes" are sprouting because people in Hong Kong can't afford sky high rents. Home prices have spiraled nearly 50 percent since 2012, making the property there one of the most unaffordable in the world. Wong, who pays $226 in monthly rent, has lived in caged homes for more than twenty years. SOUNDBITE: WONG ZIWA, COFFIN HOME TENANT, (CANTONESE) SAYING: "It's been two years since I applied for public housing, but I still haven't heard back. How long am I going to wait? I don't even know." More than 7 million people call Hong Kong home. The government plans to build 460,000 apartments over the next decade. But social worker Sze Lai Shan says shorter term policies are needed to deal with the crisis. SOUNDBITE: SZE LAI SHAN, SOCIAL WORKER AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, SOCIETY FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION, (CANTONESE) SAYING: "Living in a very tiny space with polluted air and simple surroundings. They don't even have enough room to stretch their bodies and such tight spaces may have many psychological and social impacts." The number of residents living in tiny spaces like Wong's total nearly 200,000 according to the government. But Sze believes the real number is higher.

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"Coffin homes" sprout in Hong Kong

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 01:23