Back in Huaguang, the social housing offered by the Taipei City Government after the residents’ months long protests and demand for a relocation plan is among the most popular topics of conversation. Apart from the six low-income households who are eligible for the low-cost housing units in Wenshan District (文山) and Wanhua District (萬華), the economically disadvantaged inhabitants are given a choice of the public housing with a monthly rent for one unit ranging from between NT$12,500 and NT$14,500. The maximum tenure is three years.
Most residents find the offer less than viable because with their fines and salaries partially seized, many can’t afford to live in public housing.
For Wang, what is gone with the demolition of the community is the memory of the city and the people who once lived here.
“From my father’s generation who came to Taiwan and had families here to those who moved from the countryside to the city seeking better lives, they are the people who laid the foundation upon which all the glitz and grandeur are built. Now they are gone and forgotten,” he says. “I wish there was some way to tell people that we were once here, lived our lives during turbulent moments in history.”
Currently there are some 20 households remaining in Huaguang. The MOJ says the demolition will be completed by September.