Thanks to soaring property and rental prices, scores of newly homeless people are being forced to find sanctuary in McDonalds. 24/7 McDonalds like the one pictured below have seen an influx in the number of people spending their nights in the fast food restaurant. Hong Kong house prices have surged by 130% since 2008, and are now 17 times more than the median household income.
McRefugees are the latest phenomenon shining a light on the staggering property prices crippling major cities around Asia.
As rental and property prices continue to soar in Japan, China, and Hong Kong, people who have solid educational and family backgrounds, and full-time jobs, are facing no option but to seek refuge in the countries’ 24/7 branches of McDonald’s.
Reuters photographer Tyrone Siu visited one of these restaurants in Hong Kong and captured saddening images that show the reality, for many, of life in the city.
Images like this have become far too common in Hong Kong, China, and Japan. Thanks to soaring property and rental prices, scores of newly homeless people are being forced to find sanctuary in McDonald’s.
24/7 McDonald’s like the one pictured below have seen an influx in the number of people spending their nights in the fast food restaurant.
Hong Kong house prices have surged by 130% since 2008, and are now 17 times more than the median household income. The city holds the dubious honour of being the third-most expensive property market in the world.
Professor Wong Hung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong says past homelessness has been caused by drug abuse or mental illness, but more recent street sleepers are from solid family backgrounds and see homelessness as an economic necessity.
Source: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hung’s study shows that there are now 1,000 “new homeless” people in Hong Kong.
McDonald’s Hong Kong has emphasised that it is accommodating to people who want to spend prolonged periods of time in their restaurants. They said: “we welcome all walks of life to visit our restaurants anytime.”
But they also want to find a balance so that their customers can still enjoy their dining experience.
McRefugees, or McSleepers as they’re often called, see the restaurants as a safe-haven and a more comfortable alternative to a night on the street.
However, many of them go unnoticed by much of society, as was sadly highlighted in a report from the Associated Press.
Source: Associated Press
“As other diners enjoyed their Big Macs past midnight, no one noticed the middle-aged woman who appeared to be sleeping at her table,” reports the Associated Press.
Security cameras captured the woman suddenly slump over at about 1:20 am. She had passed away but police weren’t called until 8 hours later, 24 hours after she entered the restaurant.
Hong Kong has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world. One in five people live in poverty. That figure increases to one in three when adjusted for old people.
That equates to a staggering 1.4million people living in poverty in one of the world’s leading financial centres.
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