CE chairs Commission on Poverty Summit 2018 (with photos)

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, chaired the Commission on Poverty Summit 2018 (Summit) today (March 24). The theme for the Summit this year was "Social housing as an innovative means to alleviate poverty". Representatives from social welfare organisations, a social enterprise and a charity participating in social housing development were invited to share their views and experience at a panel discussion.
     Over 400 guests attended the Summit. In addition to members of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) and its four Task Forces, representatives from political, business and academic sectors, think tanks, non-governmental organisations and concern groups were present. Relevant principal officials, under secretaries and heads of departments also took part.
     In her opening remarks, Mrs Lam said that resolving the housing problem was an important part in poverty alleviation, and increasing land supply was the prerequisite to resolving the housing problem in the long run. She encouraged people who care about poverty alleviation and support for the disadvantaged to participate actively in the upcoming public engagement on land supply to express views on the need for Hong Kong to increase land and housing supply. While striving to increase the provision of public rental housing (PRH), the Government would take up the role of a "facilitator" in the meantime, with a view to increasing the supply of transitional housing to help families on the PRH waiting list and the inadequately housed.
     At the ensuing panel discussion moderated by the Deputy Executive Director and Head of Public Policy Institute of Our Hong Kong Foundation, Mr Stephen Wong, representatives of the organisations running social housing projects (namely Chief Executive Officer of Light Be, Mr Ricky Yu; Chief Executive of The Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon, Ms Alice Lau; and Community Organiser of the Society for Community Organization, Ms Jennie Chui) and the Executive Committee Deputy Chairman of The Community Chest of Hong Kong, Mr Billy Kong, together with the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, exchanged views and experience on the development of social housing in Hong Kong. Three families benefited and a supporting landlord also shared their feelings. The discussion provided an opportunity for participants of the Summit to learn more about social housing projects from various perspectives, demonstrating how these projects, through collaboration amongst the community, the business sector and the Government, had provided underprivileged families with temporary homes and facilitated their self-reliance by provision of support services.
     Later on, the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairperson of the CoP, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, together with the Chairpersons of the four Task Forces under the CoP (namely Chairperson of the Community Care Fund Task Force, Dr Law Chi-kwong; Chairperson of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force, Professor Stephen Cheung; Chairperson of the Special Needs Groups Task Force, Mr Chua Hoi-wai; and Chairperson of the Youth Education, Employment and Training Task Force, Dr Clement Chen), gave an account of the achievements of the CoP and the Task Forces in the past year which benefited different disadvantaged groups. These include advising on the enhancement measures for the Low-income Working Family Allowance (to be renamed as "Working Family Allowance" on April 1) and the Old Age Living Allowance, bringing about the provision of $500 million as proposed in the Budget and the establishment of a steering committee to be chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration to strengthen support for ethnic minorities, filling the gaps of existing assistance programmes through the Community Care Fund and promoting social innovation through the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund.
     In the second half of the Summit, Mrs Lam and Mr Cheung, together with the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong; the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan; the Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung; the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah; and the Chairpersons of the Task Forces under the CoP, exchanged views with the participants on the policies, measures and directions of poverty alleviation. Participants from various sectors had an enthusiastic discussion on the CoP's work and the way forward on combating poverty in Hong Kong.
     The "Commission on Poverty Progress Report 2018", and the publications on the "Future Stars" Programme, the "Life Buddies" Mentoring Scheme, the Community Care Fund and the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund have been uploaded to the CoP's website (www.povertyrelief.gov.hk).

Ends/Saturday, March 24, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:05