SLW conducts home visits in Wong Tai Sin District under "Celebrations for All" project (with photos)
Accompanied by the District Officer (Wong Tai Sin), Ms Annie Kong; Wong Tai Sin District Council Chairman, Mr Li Tak-hong, and representatives and volunteers of social welfare and district organisations, they paid respective visits to a number of elderly singletons, south Asian families and families with children being taken care of by grandparents. They also distributed gift packs to the residents to express the care of the community and share the joy of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
After the home visits, government officials attended a launch ceremony for the "Celebrations for All" project of Wong Tai Sin District at Wong Tai Sin Square, during which certificates of appreciation were presented to representatives of volunteers in recognition of their participation and contribution in the project. Starting from today, more than 20 social welfare and local organisations in the district will mobilise hundreds of volunteers to visit over 27 000 under-privileged households, including elderly singletons, elderly couples and families in need, to express community care.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mr Sui said, "There are a number of grassroots and senior citizens in Wong Tai Sin who need care and support from the community. Today, I myself, together with the heads of the three livelihood-related government departments, conducted the home visits to gain first-hand understanding of the grassroots livelihood and show our care for them. I hope the activities today not only bring warmth but also convey the important message of care and inclusiveness."
Mr Sui added, "Poverty alleviation, elderly care and support for the disadvantaged top the current-term Government's agenda, which can be illustrated by the allocation of resources. The recurrent expenditure on social welfare of this financial year will reach $73.3 billion, an increase of 71 per cent in five years compared with that at the start of the current term Government in 2012-13. This demonstrates our firm commitment to supporting the disadvantaged and those in need. The current-term Government has introduced two targeted initiatives, namely the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and the Low-income Working Family Allowance Scheme. The former is benefiting some 450 000 elderly persons aged 65 or above, while the latter helps ease inter-generational poverty, with over
110 000 low-income family members benefiting, of which over 50 000 are children. On labour policy front, the Statutory Minimum Wage rate has been adjusted upward three times while the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme has also been enhanced during the current-term Government. Both initiatives are geared to encourage self-reliance and promote employment, and so far over 110 000 low-income earners are receiving the transport subsidy.
"To strengthen social security as one of the pillars of retirement protection, the Government has adjusted upward the asset limits for OALA and added a tier of Higher OALA. The latter is expected to roll out in mid-2018, but will have retrospective effect from May 1 this year. After full implementation of these measures, it is estimated that some 500 000 elderly persons will benefit in the first year. The coverage of OALA will increase to 47 per cent of the overall elderly population. The measures will involve an additional recurrent expenditure of over $75.5 billion for the first 10 years."
The "Celebrations for All" project is one of the major events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. Co-ordinated by the Home Affairs Department and implemented by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the 18 districts, the project consists of three components, namely home visits, facilitating participation of the less privileged in territory-wide celebratory activities, and district celebration events. On home visits, volunteers from participating NGOs will visit a total of around 300 000 elderly households and families in need and present them with free gift packs (fortune bags), sharing the joy of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Senior government officials will also join the home visits to show their care so as to extend the joyous atmosphere to the whole community.
Ends/Friday, June 9, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:10
Issued at HKT 18:10