LCQ18: Premises for rehabilitation and community support facilities

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (November 3):


     The authorities have set up 16 District Support Centres for Persons with Disabilities (DSCs) in 2009, but I have learnt that most of these centres still do not have their own premises for their operation and need to borrow workplaces from other service units, thereby affecting their operation.  So far, most DSCs still do not have a definite date for relocation.  Quite a number of members of the sector told me that they worried that the 24 Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness (ICCMWs) to be set up at the end of this year would face the same problem.  Regarding the lack of premises for operation of units providing community rehabilitation and support services, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) among the 16 DSCs, which DSCs have already moved into their own premises for their operation at present;

(b) whether service units (including DSCs and ICCMWs) which have not been provided with their own premises for operation are required to comply with the original requirements of the Funding and Service Agreement (FSA); whether the authorities have implemented any measure to temporarily lower those requirements in response to the difficulties encountered by those units due to the lack of premises for their operation; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(c) what long-term measures the authorities have put in place to address the problem of the lack of premises for operation of units providing newly developed services; and

(d) what rehabilitation services will be provided by the authorities in the next five years, and whether they have started to identify premises for these welfare facilities?



     My reply to the Hon Cheung Kwok-che's question is as follows:

(a) The Social Welfare Department (SWD) set up 16 District Support Centres for Persons with Disabilities (DSCs) in January 2009 through re-engineering of community support services.  By adopting a district-based and one-stop service mode, DSCs provide persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their families/carers with accessible community support services.

     At present, two DSCs located respectively in Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long have commenced service at their permanent accommodation.  The premises of six DSCs located respectively in Kowloon City/Yau Tsim Mong, Tsuen Wan/Tsing Yi, Kwun Tong West, Eastern/Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin and Tseung Kwan O/Sai Kung are undergoing fitting-out works. These six DSCs are expected to gradually commence service before mid-2011.  In addition, SWD is taking forward the preparatory work for the premises of three DSCs located in Tuen Mun, Sha Tin and Tai Po respectively.  These include application for change of land use and application for Lotteries Fund for fitting-out works, etc.  SWD has also identified sites at suitable development projects as accommodation for four DSCs and will continue to make active efforts to identify suitable premises for the remaining DSC.

(b) To facilitate DSCs and the Integrated Community Centres of Mental Wellness to provide PWDs with one-stop services effectively, SWD has allocated additional resources on top of existing service provision in re-engineering the community support services.  In formulating the Funding and Service Agreement (FSA), SWD has reached a mutual understanding with service operators that flexible approach will be adopted in dealing with the requirements stipulated under the FSA, taking into account the resources allocated and progress of preparatory work for DSC accommodation, e.g. allowing the service operators to provide services at suitable alternative premises.

(c) The Government has been making active efforts to identify suitable premises on a long, medium and short term planning basis for the setting up of welfare facilities, including rehabilitation service facilities.  On long term planning, SWD will continue to maintain close liaison with relevant government departments (e.g. Lands Department, Planning Department and Housing Department) with a view to reserving suitable sites at the planning stage of new development or re-development projects as far as practicable for the setting up rehabilitation services facilities.  On medium term planning, we will keep a close watch on the availability of vacant premises and school sites arising from re-engineering of services, so as to secure premises for the provision of rehabilitation services.  On short term planning, we will actively identify vacant public housing units for conversion into rehabilitation service facilities.

(d) In the next five years, the Government will continue to enhance support and services for PWDs, including residential care services, day training and vocational rehabilitation services, pre-school services and community support services, according to the strategic directions set out in the Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan.  SWD is making active efforts to identify premises for the service programmes under planning, such as reserving suitable sites at new development or re-development projects, and continue to solicit support from members of local communities for setting up rehabilitation service facilities in the community, thereby facilitating the early implementation of various service programmes.

Ends/Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Issued at HKT 11:35