Poor in Hong Kong: life is hardest for the elderly, jobless and single-parent families living on a pittance

Our families told the Post how they struggle daily to make ends meet, like hundreds of thousands of their fellow Hongkongers.

Wong Suet-ying, 70, should be enjoying retirement but finds herself in a daily struggle to make ends meet, like hundreds of thousands of her fellow Hongkongers. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
Edward Man Ho-wai, the founder of ChickenSoup Foundation, says some poor people need support with how to best allocate their limited means. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

In a recent interview with the South China Morning Post, our families shared how they struggle daily to make ends meet, just like hundreds of thousands of their fellow Hongkongers.

70-year-old Ms Wong, shares a 200 sq ft public rental housing flat with her husband and their three grandchildren.  Without a breadwinner at home, the household of five gets by on a monthly allowance of about HK$17,000 under the government’s Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) welfare scheme. 

27-year-old single mother Ms Li, on the other hand, lives with her three-year-old son in a 100 sq ft subdivided flat while struggling with depression.  Li was forced to stop working after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2018. 

“Money is no doubt necessary to help them, but it alone can’t solve the problem,” our founder Ed told the Post in an interview.  “Most poor people don’t know how to use resources efficiently.”

In order to bring stability to these families, we provide tailor-made services and care to them complementing cash support from the government.  It takes strength to show vulnerability and share their stories – both Ms Wong and Ms Li have demonstrated great resilience despite facing adversity in times of crisis.  Read on to learn more about their stories. 

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