LCQ7: Short-term Food Assistance Service Projects

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Yuk-man and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (April 29):


     Recently, some elderly people and people with disabilities who receive only old age allowance or disability allowance but not Comprehensive Social Security Assistance have relayed to me that the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which operate short-term food assistance service projects had refused to provide food assistance to them.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether the Social Welfare Department has stipulated that the NGOs concerned may not provide food assistance to those people; if it has not, whether it knows the reasons for those people being refused assistance; if it has, of the justifications and whether it will abolish the stipulation immediately?



     The target service users of the five Short-term Food Assistance Service Projects implemented by the Social Welfare Department in collaboration with NGOs throughout the territory can be broadly categorised into two groups.  The first group comprises individuals or families who have proven difficulties in coping with daily food expenditure, including those among the unemployed, low-income earners, new arrivals and street sleepers, as well as individuals or families encountering sudden changes and facing immediate financial hardship etc.  The second group comprises individuals or families who have not benefited from any of the relief measures announced by the Government in 2008.

     There is no restriction on recipients of Old Age Allowance (OAA) or Disability Allowance (DA) applying for food assistance under these service projects.  However, the operating NGOs are required to assess the needs of individual applicants (regardless of whether the applicant is a recipient of OAA or DA) as well as the level and type of assistance to be provided, so as to ensure that the assistance rendered will be proper and adequate to meet the basic needs of service users.  Applicants who have been assessed to be not in need of short-term food assistance will not be provided with the service.

Ends/Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Issued at HKT 12:31