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DSW calls on people to show care and concern for neighbourhood and the needy during cold weather (with photos)

     As the air temperature is expected to fall to 11 degrees Celsius in Hong Kong's urban areas tomorrow (December 17), the Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip, visited single elderly persons and street sleepers in Central and Western District tonight (December 16) to distribute warm items as well as hot meal coupons and remind them to take extra care during the sudden cold spell. She also encouraged members of the public to show concern and care for relatives, neighbours and the needy in the district to cultivate a culture of care and mutual help in the community.

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are standing ready to render assistance to the disadvantaged now that winter has arrived. Earlier this week, the SWD requested all district service units to contact people in special circumstances, such as single elderly persons and chronically ill patients, to provide appropriate support for them if necessary. At the same time, the Integrated Services Teams for Street Sleepers (ISTs) are also stepping up their outreach efforts to render short-term accommodation and tangible assistance as required to street sleepers. Anyone in need can call the SWD Hotline at 2343 2255 for assistance.

     Ms Yip joined social workers from ISTs of St James' Settlement to help distribute blankets, down jackets, scarves, food packs and hot meal coupons to street sleepers in the vicinity of Hollywood Road Park. She also introduced the support services available to them, including emergency and short-term accommodation, counselling and employment support services.

     She said, "We have prepared sufficient blankets for distribution to street sleepers during the cold weather. District social welfare offices and NGOs can also mobilise local resources to purchase winter items to show extra care and support for needy street sleepers during the cold spell."

     She pointed out that the Government is greatly concerned about the service needs of street sleepers and has subsidised NGOs to operate three ISTs to provide integrated services to them. These services include daytime and midnight outreach activities, emergency and short-term accommodation, counselling, employment guidance, personal care, emergency funding to meet various expenses, follow-up counselling services and service referrals.

     "Last winter, the ISTs visited some 400 street sleepers and conducted about 1 600 outreach activities last year. Through these visits, the ISTs provided street sleepers with various forms of tangible assistance and helped them give up street sleeping. The SWD will closely monitor their service needs and take appropriate measures to strengthen support for street sleepers and the needy," she added.

     Ms Yip also visited single elderly persons living in two old Chinese tenement buildings in Sai Ying Pun to remind them to take good care of themselves. Ms Yip also briefed them on information about elderly services and health care during cold weather to enhance their knowledge of available welfare and support services in the neighbourhood.

Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:58


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