Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng vowed Tuesday that the government will come up with measures to help local social service groups tackle the problem of exorbitant rents and the shortage of professionals, adding that the government would consider purchasing industrial buildings so that the groups can lease them at an affordable cost so that they continue their services or social enterprises.
The policy secretary also said that the government would assist the social service sector in hiring professionals such as therapists who are difficult to recruit locally.
Tam made the remarks during a working visit the Macau Fu Hong Society in Fai Chi Kei after a meeting with representatives of the group, which is running a laundry as the city’s first social enterprise.
Tam and several officials from the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) including its president Iong Kong Io Tuesday also visited a service centre run by the Macau Association of Parents of the Mentally Handicapped in Areia Preta.
Tam held separate meetings with representatives of the two groups to listen to their opinions and suggestions on how to improve the city’s social services, as well as the difficulties they encounter in providing the services.
Tam said that after visiting the city’s different sectors under his portfolio he found that a severe shortage of manpower and inadequate premises are common problems.
Talking to reporters Tam also said that the social service sector was facing rising operational costs such as skyrocketing rents.
Asked by reporters whether the idea [of buying factory buildings to be leased to social service groups at an affordable cost] would affect the local private property market and possibly push prices up even further, Tam said the idea was workable but not yet “fully worked out” and the government still needed to study its feasibility.
“Now the rental market is hot…it’s impossible to just sit on our hands [over the problem],” Tam said, adding that the government would support social service groups so that the unprivileged continue to receive the services they need. (macaunews/macaupost)