The contributions of nongovernmental agencies to squatter resettlement in Hong Kong

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This paper explores the role and contributions of nongovernmental agencies to squatter resettlement in colonial Hong Kong. After the Second World War, large squatter areas developed rapidly in densely populated districts and presented serious fire and sanitary hazards to Hong Kong. In 1951, the government took action and required squatters to move to designated cottage resettlement areas where they would be less of a nuisance. Settlers were offered sites on which they could build themselves new cottages at their own expenses. Many non-profit-making organizations and churches saw this as an opportunity for practical charitable assistance to people in need. From the 1950s to the 1980s, they proactively built thousands of cottages, which were either donated outright to the government or were rented or sold by hire-purchase agreement to the settlers. Before their intervention, the government had never seriously contemplated the provision of subsidized housing for the poor. Unfortunately, this important episode in Hong Kong's housing history as it relates to the nongovernmental sector's contributions is often neglected. This paper highlights that the cottage resettlement areas developed by nongovernmental agencies, in fact, stand as the first extensive attempt to provide affordable housing to low-income families in Hong Kong.
Period11 Apr 2022
Degree of RecognitionInstitutional