LCQ10: District Services and Community Care Teams
As announced in the 2022 Policy Address, the District Services and Community Care Teams (Care Teams) will be set up in the 18 districts across the territory to consolidate community resources to support the Government's district work. The total amount of funding for each Care Team for a two-year service agreement ranges from about $800,000 to $1.2 million. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will subsidise the rental expenditure for the office premises/contact places of the Care Teams, and whether it will make good use of the some 1 100 former Mutual Aid Committee offices under the Hong Kong Housing Authority as office premises/contact places of the Care Teams; if so, of the details and specific timetable;
(2) given that each Care Team will have around eight to 12 members, whether the Government has formulated a mechanism to facilitate government departments (e.g. the Housing Department, the Social Welfare Department and the Joint Office for Investigation of Water Seepage Complaints) to work hand in hand with various Care Teams and jointly send staff to pay visits to residents to understand their needs, thereby pooling their efforts to solve the problems faced by residents;
(3) given that some members of the public have developed symptoms of post Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) condition (commonly known as "long COVID") after the COVID-19 epidemic, whether the Care Teams will, in collaboration with the Department of Health and organisations providing Chinese medicine services, conduct a territory-wide health survey to observe the long COVID symptoms of members of the public by means of case tracking; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(4) given that the selection for the Care Teams in Tsuen Wan and Southern Districts has been completed, of the timetable and progress of the relevant work for the Care Teams in the remaining 16 districts?
In consultation with the Housing Department, our consolidated reply to the question raised by Hon Chan Hok-fung on District Services and Community Care Teams (Care Teams) is as follows:
As announced by the Chief Executive in the 2022 Policy Address, Care Teams will be set up in the 18 districts to support the Government's district work and strengthen community network. The 18 districts will be delineated into 452 sub-districts, with one Care Team set up in each sub-district. Organisations will form Care Teams through a selection process. Care Teams are characterised by their resource mobilisation, territory-wide coverage and district-based services.
In terms of resource mobilisation, the Government encourages organisations to run Care Teams through sponsorship, donation and internal resources. Where appropriate, organisations may use their own premises as offices of Care Teams. The Government will provide Care Teams with some of the resources required. District Offices will stipulate the amount of funding for each Care Team based on the circumstances of the sub-district concerned. The total amount of funding for each Care Team for a two-year service agreement ranges from about $800,000 to $1,200,000.
The Mutual Aid Committee (MAC) Scheme was terminated on January 1. According to the information provided by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA), HA will allocate offices recovered from MACs under its management for different uses, including converting the offices for domestic use, reserving them for internal use, converting them into service rooms to support the implementation of the Municipal Solid Waste Charging Scheme, and letting to Care Teams as their offices. The Home Affairs Department is at an advanced stage of discussion with HA, and we are optimistic that a sizeable number of recovered offices will be reserved for letting to Care Teams. We will also continue to follow up with HA on the detailed leasing arrangement for offices of Care Teams.
Care Teams mainly provide district-based services according to the needs of sub-districts. In addition to organising daily caring activities, such as visiting the needy, Care Teams will assist in handling incidents and emergencies. Besides, organisations forming Care Teams will, based on their experience and understanding of the sub-districts, implement additional services, such as policy promotion and education or large-scale celebratory activities. Being the commanders of Care Teams in their own districts, District Officers will also direct the work of Care Teams in accordance with policy priorities and district needs. The Home and Youth Affairs Bureau will work closely with relevant policy bureaux and departments in taking forward the work of Care Teams, so that suitable assistance can be provided to those in need.
The Government has already set up Care Teams in the Tsuen Wan and Southern districts. Application for Care Teams in the remaining 16 districts was closed in March and selection is underway. It is expected that Care Teams in the 16 districts will gradually be set up in the third quarter of 2023.
Ends/Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:50
Issued at HKT 18:50