The ‘right to housing’ incorporates at least five different dimensions which are all indispensible for the minimum satisfaction of such right, namely, 1) the ‘right to adequate housing’; (2) the ‘right to affordable housing’; (3) the ‘right to enjoy’ one’s housing without arbitrary interference; (4) freedom from the threat of arbitrary forced eviction (5) the ‘right of choice’ in relation to: 5a) the decision to rent or home-ownership; 5b) the neighourhood one is to live in accordance with needs, preferences and lifestyle (Yung, forthcoming). ‘Equal right to housing’ essentially means equal opportunity or non-discrimination in the fulfillment of different dimensions of ‘right to housing’. For those with economic means, different dimensions of their ‘right to housing’ are largely satisfied in Hong Kong, however, this may not be the case for those from the lower socio-economic strata. The situation is even more grave and alarming for members of disadvantaged groups from the latter who are thus doubly deprived. This paper will examine the views on ‘equal right to housing’ in Hong Kong housing policy from four disadvantaged groups, namely, single-parent families, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and Mainland New Arrivals by drawing on information from in-depth interviews with members of these groups, representatives of organizations serving these disadvantaged groups, property sector practitioners, Equal Opportunity representative as well as members of the general public. On the whole, those from these disadvantaged groups, especially those from the lower socio-economic strata, may not enjoy equal opportunity to have their different dimensions of ‘right to housing’ satisfied in Hong Kong, mainly due to discriminatory selection of tenants, on the part of private landlords as well as their limited economic means which may be, to some extent, magnified by some biased practices in public housing policy. This paper will also examine some of policy implications of these research findings.
|Published - Aug 2011