Impact of multi-dimensional precarity on rough sleeping : Evidence from Hong Kong

Siu-Ming CHAN*, Hung WONG, Tat-Chor AU-YEUNG, Shen-Nan LI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


While there is a body of literature on the explanation of homelessness in Western contexts, rough sleeping is understudied in non-Western societies. Based on a multi-dimensional precarity framework, this quantitative study employed data from the largest study of the homeless population in Hong Kong in 2021, comparing the rough and non-rough sleepers. Descriptive statistics and logistic regressions were used to investigate the association between rough sleeping, economic, housing, and health precarity. The results showed that lack of employment, food insecurity, and the incidence of chronic diseases were less risky for sleeping rough, compared with non-rough sleeping. Moreover, the analysis suggests that unemployment, mental health issues, repeated homelessness, and the lack of relationships with social work professionals appear to be the risk factors. This paper makes three significant contributions. First, it conceptually expands the conceptualization of rough sleeping and homelessness in relation to varying dimensions of precarity, formulating a framework connecting structural forces and individual experiences. Second, it extends the empirical findings of rough sleeping to a non-Western context. Third, it informs a multi-faceted intervention approach to rough sleeping by addressing the multi-dimensional precarity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102831
JournalHabitat International
Early online date3 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all the volunteers and respondents for joining the survey and their support in this research project. We also thank all the NGOs and social works for their support in data collection and research collaboration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Homelessness
  • Rough sleepers
  • Housing precarity
  • Economic insecurity
  • Hong Kong
  • Insecurity


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