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LCQ7: Distribution of warm items to the needy and elders

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-kin and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (March 4):


     During periods of cold weather, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within its purview distribute items such as sweaters, blankets and quilts to the elderly and people in need for them to keep warm. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total expenditure of SWD and NGOs within its purview on items for keeping warm as well as the number of beneficiaries in each of the past three years;

(b) whether it has imposed restrictions on the number of items for keeping warm that the elderly and people in need may obtain; if so, of the details; and

(c) whether it will consider allocating additional resources to NGOs in accordance with weather conditions, so that they can timely provide sufficient items for keeping warm to the elderly and people in need?



(a) Each year, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) provides appropriate quantities of blankets to relevant social service units for distribution to people in need (mainly elderly people and street sleepers), having regard to the demand in individual districts. In the past three years (from 2006 to 2008), SWD provided a total of 8,525 blankets to social service units at a total expenditure of $758,725.

     Apart from blankets, various District Social Welfare Offices (DSWOs) of SWD, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local organisations also make use of community resources or donations to provide warm items (such as clothing, scarves, gloves, quilts, etc.) to those in need. Since a large number of service units are involved, SWD does not have statistics on the costs incurred by these service units in distributing warm items and the number of beneficiaries.

(b) SWD has not set a ceiling on the quantity of warm items each elder or needy person may receive. The service units will provide those in need with appropriate quantities of warm items according to their individual circumstances.

(c) Service units operated by NGOs (including District Elderly Community Centres, Neighbourhood Elderly Centre, Integrated Services Teams for Street Sleepers, Integrated Family Service Centres, etc.) can flexibly deploy their resources or charitable donations to procure and distribute warm items. If they need additional blankets, they can also approach SWD's various DSWOs.

Ends/Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:19


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