Remarks by Chairperson and Chief Executive
The COVID pandemic has been ravaging and resurging for close to three years. Its fifth wave brought the most serious impact to the economy, people’s livelihoods and social welfare services, particularly the provision of residential care services.
During this difficult time, HKCSS remained pivotal in mobilizing societal networks, engaging agency
members and the community in the fight against the epidemic. In addition to supplies and financial support to social welfare organisations, frontline service units and the underprivileged, we also launched innovative and pilot projects, including home vaccinations for the elderly and people with disabilities; subsidising therapy for grassroots citizens traumatised by the epidemic; recruiting post-secondary students in nursing and healthcare to work in residential care homes; and piloting a telemedicine system in these institutions.
These projects helped the industry adapt to ”the New Normal”, facilitated the sector in sustaining adequate services to the public, bringing new insights to the long-term development of welfare services.
On the other hand, gerontechnology is becoming more and more important in the provision of home care and residential services. Apart from the 5th Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit, programmes such as the Jockey Club “age at home” Gerontech Education and Rental Service, the Gerontech Cleaning and Maintenance Service Centre and the Gerontechnology Platform successfully reached out to the community and established a healthy gerontechnology ecosystem in tackling challenges of an ageing population in a holistic manner.
In terms of service development, understanding the heavy strain on long term carers, we conducted studies and advocated enhanced respite services and carer policy. At the same time, we were also cognizant about other issues like youth development, mental wellness and primary health care, and were assiduous in both research and advocacy.
On grassroots housing, following the launch of Hong Kong’s first modular social housing project two years ago at Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po, the second project in Sham Shui Po, “1 Cheong San”, flat-intake started in early 2022. A third project, “6 Yip Shing” in Kwai Chung is ready to provide affordable homes to grassroots families in substandard accommodation.
To better understand housing needs of the grassroots, we conducted surveys on housing choices and service needs of low-income sub-divided unit households, and urged the authorities to strengthen rental and service support so as to prevent social isolation and exclusion.
HKCSS is also committed to enhancing the capacity of the welfare sector by provision of numerous training opportunities for both management and frontline staff in governance, service, management, and finance, during which we brought in knowledge and experience from many professional sectors. We are concerned about the reform of the subvention system and have expressed the sector’s recommendations in the government’s review on Enhancing the Lump Sum Grant Subvention System.
HKCSS is celebrating 75 years of dedicated work in this city we call home. We will persevere in collaboration with social service organisations, the Government and other sectors to meet challenges and opportunities of the era head-on, improve the quality of life of the underprivileged, and build a caring and inclusive community.