Wan Chai cageman Lui Tin-kwan said yesterday: 'I count my blessings every morning I wake up and find myself still alive.' The single lodger, 64, who lives close to the scene of yesterday's fatal arson attack in Cross Street, said: 'When you live in this rundown situation, being able to stay alive is a blessing in itself.' There are at least four cage homes in the Cross Street block where Mr Lui lives. None is licensed because the Government refuses to consider them 'cage homes' due to their partitioned flat design. Mr Lui's 500 square foot flat is partitioned into four rooms on one side, with four bunk beds on the other. The staircase of the block is unlit and clotheslines block the corridors. 'You have to sense your way back home after dark,' Mr Lui said. 'I stay here because of the cheap rent. I don't have much choice.' Fellow cageman Lau Kim-fung said security had always worried him. 'Theft is not uncommon in cage homes,' he said. 'And a minor squabble can turn into a big fight. Bear in mind you are living with a group of alcoholics, drug addicts or ex-prisoners. I am lucky there are no troublemakers among my flatmates.' A Society for Community Organisation survey found 40 per cent of cage home lodgers were mental patients, ex-convicts or drug addicts. Both Mr Lau and Mr Lui blamed the housing policy for preventing them from having a decent home. St James Settlement social worker Wong Shek-hung said many cagemen were forced to stay because there were not enough public units. The Housing Department gives preference to applicants over 60 who can be allocated a flat in two years, while under-60 applicants follow 'ordinary' procedures, which could mean a nine-year wait.