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  Highlights of the Year 2020-21 - Family Services

 
Short-Term Food Assistance
 
SWD has commissioned NGOs to operate short-term food assistance service to help individuals and families who have difficulties in coping with their daily food expenditure since 2009.  The service has been regularised through the Lump Sum Grant Subvention System since August 2021 to enable financial stability of the service.  Individuals or families who have proven difficulties coping with daily food expenditure, including the unemployed or underemployed, low-income earners, new arrivals, street sleepers, as well as individuals or families encountering sudden change and facing immediate financial hardship may apply for the service.  To help individuals and families temporarily affected by the epidemic, SWD has relaxed the asset limits of the service from 1 June 2021 to 31 May 2022 on a time- limited basis by pitching the asset limits to those of the Working Family Allowance.  As at 31 March 2021, a total headcount of 425 857 beneficiaries received food assistance from the service projects.

 
Services For Street Sleepers
 
Three subvented NGOs, each operating an Integrated Services Team for Street Sleepers (IST), provide integrated services including day and late-night outreach visit, emergency shelter/short-term hostel placement, counselling, employment guidance, personal care (e.g. bathing, hair-cut and arranging meals), emergency fund, aftercare service and service referrals, etc. with an aim to addressing the immediate needs of street sleepers and enhancing their work motivation and skills so as to assist them to become self-reliant and reintegrate into the community.  In 2020-21, the 3 ISTs and related service units approached 1 580 street sleepers.

 
Family Crisis Support Centre
 
Operated by Caritas - Hong Kong, the Family Crisis Support Centre (FCSC) aims at tackling family crisis at an early stage by providing a package of integrated and easily accessible services to assist individuals and families in crisis or distress.  Their services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency intervention with short-term accommodation and other support services.  Besides, the FCSC has established an effective referral network and collaboration with other service organisations and professionals in serving individuals/families in crisis.  As at 31 March 2021, 88.5% of the service users indicated positive response in overcoming their immediate family crisis upon leaving the FCSC.

 
Hotline Services
 
Since the commencement of service of the NGO-operated Hotline and Outreaching Service Team (HOST) in October 2008, SWD Hotline has been operating on a 24-hour basis, with SWD’s social workers handling calls during normal office hours and social workers of HOST handling calls received outside normal office hours.  HOST also provides outreaching service to specific groups of needy persons in case of emergency warranting immediate intervention by social workers.  In 2020-21, social workers of SWD handled 49 123 calls with 6 758 of them requiring counselling service, whereas social workers of HOST handled 13 276 calls with 11 650 of them requiring counselling service.

 
Compassionate Rehousing
 
Compassionate Rehousing (CR) is a form of special housing assistance, which aims at providing housing assistance to individuals and families who have genuine and imminent long-term housing needs but, owing to their social and medical needs (if applicable) under specific circumstances, have no other feasible means to solve their housing problems.  In 2020-21, 630 cases were recommended by SWD to the Housing Department for CR.

 
Outreaching Team For Ethnic Minorities 
 
SWD commissioned 3 NGOs to set up 3 outreaching teams for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories to proactively reach out to ethnic minorities (EMs) and connect those in need with mainstream welfare services.  Acting as a gateway to mainstream welfare services for EMs in need, the outreaching teams provide a package of services to EMs through early identification and intervention.  The outreaching teams have been providing services since 1 March 2020.  In 2020- 21, the 3 outreaching teams contacted 2 645 EMs.

 
Ethnic Minority District Ambassador Pilot Scheme
 
SWD launched a 3-year Ethnic Minority District Ambassador Pilot Scheme in October 2020 to enhance EM services provided by district centres/service units in 9 districts with higher EM population, including Central and Western, Islands, Wan Chai, Eastern, Yau Tsim Mong, Kowloon City, Kwai Tsing, Yuen Long and Sham Shui Po.  Under the Pilot Scheme, some welfare service units of subvented NGOs, including integrated family service centres/integrated services centres, parent/relatives resource centres, district elderly community centres, district support centres for PWDs, integrated service centres for ex-offenders and their families, as well as medical social services units under SWD have been provided with additional resources to employ a total of 46 “EM District Ambassadors” with a view to enhancing welfare and support services for EM communities.

 
Charitable Trust Funds
 
SWD administers 4 charitable trust funds, namely the Tang Shiu Kin and Ho Tim Charitable Fund, the Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund, the Brewin Trust Fund and the Kwan Fong Trust Fund for the Needy.  The purpose of the funds is to provide one-off and short-term financial assistance to individuals and families facing temporary financial hardship arising from special and emergency situations.  In 2020- 21, 980 applications for payments (involving $5.51 million) were handled by SWD to provide assistance to needy individuals or families.

 
 
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