Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS IMPACTHK’s MISSION?
Our aim is simple: to support Hong Kong’s homeless with kindness, and empower them for change.
WHEN DID IMPACTHK BEGIN?
In 2014, we came up with the idea of undertaking one act of kindness each month for the homeless. At this stage, we had never considered launching a charity.
These monthly acts of kindness quickly became more and more popular, progressing from one walk per month to two, then four, and now an average of 30 per month in five different locations across Hong Kong.
This popularity gave us the opportunity to make an even greater impact than we had originally thought possible, and ImpactHK officially became a registered NGO in March 2017.
HOW CAN I HELP?
As we are a brand new charity staffed entirely by volunteers, there are so many ways in which to get involved and help out!
Walk With Us
The easiest way to get involved is by joining one of our Kindness Walks. To find out where your nearest Kindness Walk is taking place, along with any other specific details, head to our Facebook Page, check our events section, hit “going” and show up!
Clean, used or new clothing, bedding and towels are always very much appreciated, as are airline amenity kits. If you have any other items you’d like to donate, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll let you know if we can use it.
Unfortunately we don’t currently have the manpower to regularly collect items, and so we typically require donations to be delivered to us at the beginning of our scheduled walks. However, we’re always happy to see if we can collect larger donations, so if you’re unable to drop off, please send us a message hello@impactHK.org and we’ll see what we can do!
We are currently raising funds to help get the homeless people that we serve off of the streets and into safe accommodation. Our costs include rental deposits, initial rental payment, real estate agent’s fees and transport.
Our work to date has only been made possible by the hundreds of caring and dedicated volunteers who have come together to make kindness a priority.
We are currently building a network of individuals across a range of backgrounds to help support our programmes and services, and run them as effectively as possible.
If you feel that you could offer us some of your time and skills to support our work with Hong Kong’s homeless people, please get in touch email@example.com!
WHAT IS A KINDNESS WALK?
The name pretty much sums it up; we walk together to show kindness to people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
We provide Hong Kong’s homeless people with food, drinks, toiletries, clothing, free laundry vouchers and more.
The aim of these walks is to build trust through familiarity, in order that the homeless people within the areas that we serve recognise us, and know that we care.
Some individuals may be ready to share their stories, and so we develop friendships, and support them with a plan for positive change.
WHERE DO YOUR YOUR KINDNESS WALKS TAKE PLACE?
We are currently serving five different locations: Happy Valley, Sham Shui Po, Shau Kei Wan, Fortress Hill and Yau Ma Tei.
CAN I BRING MY CHILDREN ON A KINDNESS WALK?
Yes you can. We have had many children join our Kindness Walks, and they have consistently found it to be a meaningful experience. We would suggest that children initially join one of our Hong Kong Island walks, as they are shorter, and they are less likely to witness drug use.
Currently, almost all of our walks take place in the late evening, in order to accommodate more homeless people, however we will soon add more day and weekend walks to our schedule.
CAN I JOIN A WALK IF I CANNOT SPEAK CANTONESE?
Yes! In fact, a large percentage of the homeless people that we serve in Hong Kong are not Cantonese speakers. ImpactHK has such a strong community of volunteers that we tend to find multiple nationalities and languages represented at most of our walks, and we’re fortunate that we always have at least one Cantonese speaker.
HOW DOES YOUR FREE LAUNDRY PROGRAMME WORK?
The concept is simple. We find laundry shops in areas near to homeless communities. We pay these shops a large deposit, and then create free laundry cards printed with the shop’s address and a map, any terms and conditions, and expiry date. We then pass these cards out to homeless people with a full explanation. At the end of each month, the laundry shops tally the total bill, and ImpactHK pays this.
This system enables homeless people to have their laundry washed free of charge, and we have seen great results so far from this programme. Having clean clothes helps to support better health, and gives individuals the confidence to participate in society, for example by taking public transport, or eating in restaurants.
WHAT WILL YOU OFFER AT YOUR HOMELESS DAY CENTRE?
We will soon be opening up our first day centre in Sham Shui Po. This will be a safe place for homeless people to visit to get a shower, find new clothing, do some laundry, have a haircut, use the computer, and, of course, eat something. We will also run a range of support programmes, including counselling, sports and language learning.
WHAT MAKES IMPACTHK DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CHARITIES HELPING THE HOMELESS?
We are a charity built on the kindness of hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have committed themselves to helping Hong Kong’s homeless people. Our sheer number brings with it the power and the opportunity to create massive change.
We have a clear vision that everything we do starts from kindness. We build trust and friendships with the people that we serve, and it’s this connection that we believe to be vital, as it demonstrates that Hong Kong’s homeless community have us in their lives as friends, and that we aren’t going anywhere.
We don’t believe that simply giving someone a job, or an apartment, is sufficient, which is why we also provide support through counselling, mentorship, financial advice, and social activities.
HOW SERIOUS IS HONG KONG’S HOMELESSNESS PROBLEM?
During our first evening supporting homeless people in Sham Shui Po, we served roughly 70 individuals. These days we are supporting around 130.
It’s extremely hard to get an accurate number of homeless people in Hong Kong, as many don’t go to their sleeping spaces until very late at night, however, we see dozens of individuals forced to sleep in fast food restaurants, doorways, or staircases on a nightly basis.
HOW MANY HOMELESS PEOPLE DO IMPACTHK SUPPORT?
We currently serve approximately 300 homeless people across the five areas in which we work.
WHY ARE PEOPLE HOMELESS?
Often, the best way to answer this question is to reverse it. Why are people not homeless?
Because of their family? Their job? Their friends?
Someone that they can count on, no matter what?
The truth is there are so many different situations that can lead to homelessness; from mental health issues, to Hong Kong’s punishingly expensive property costs. But after spending time with many of the homeless community, it is clear to us that, underscoring these issues, people often become homeless because they don’t have anyone that they can count on.
At ImpactHK, we believe that it is our responsibility as a charity to build friendship and trust with the people that we serve. It is our responsibility to show them a future that is more promising than the present. It is our responsibility to show them that they always have someone to count on.
Thank you for your support. heart