The reconceptualization of homelessness policy and the social welfare response of non-governmental organizations in Hong Kong

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Abstract

The upsurge in homeless numbers in Hong Kong in the late 1990s, caused by the economic turmoil of the Asian Financial Crisis and neoliberal restructuring, forced the government to re-conceptualize its previous approach to homelessness and restructure its policy. Before the government's official formulation through the implementation of the Three-year Action Plan in 2001, non-governmental organizations had initiated their own social welfare responses, giving rise to the current transitory housing system, but the differences in their ethos and interactions with government policy have resulted in a diffused character and low degree of interconnectivity, However, the government gradually outsourced its welfare responsibilities to these organizations, and took on a monitoring function, by which it can intervene and utilize the transitory housing facilities to clear out and contain the visible homeless. In addition, by providing funds and facility services, it was able to influence the geographical distribution of transitory housing and homeless social welfare services. This paper aims to explore the establishment of the Hong Kong transitory housing system for the homeless as a social welfare response; the professionalization of its management and its interactive relationship to government praxis; internal dynamics regarding service content; and geographical distribution set against Hong Kong's urban context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-76
Number of pages24
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Geography
Volume60
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

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homelessness
social welfare
nongovernmental organization
Hong Kong
housing
geographical distribution
financial crisis
action plan
professionalization
government policy
service provider
restructuring
welfare
monitoring
responsibility
policy
interaction
management
economics
services

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

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abstract = "The upsurge in homeless numbers in Hong Kong in the late 1990s, caused by the economic turmoil of the Asian Financial Crisis and neoliberal restructuring, forced the government to re-conceptualize its previous approach to homelessness and restructure its policy. Before the government's official formulation through the implementation of the Three-year Action Plan in 2001, non-governmental organizations had initiated their own social welfare responses, giving rise to the current transitory housing system, but the differences in their ethos and interactions with government policy have resulted in a diffused character and low degree of interconnectivity, However, the government gradually outsourced its welfare responsibilities to these organizations, and took on a monitoring function, by which it can intervene and utilize the transitory housing facilities to clear out and contain the visible homeless. In addition, by providing funds and facility services, it was able to influence the geographical distribution of transitory housing and homeless social welfare services. This paper aims to explore the establishment of the Hong Kong transitory housing system for the homeless as a social welfare response; the professionalization of its management and its interactive relationship to government praxis; internal dynamics regarding service content; and geographical distribution set against Hong Kong's urban context.",
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