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Project Intervention Plan for Elderly Community

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Published: Tue, 14 Aug 2018

A Project Intervention Plan on Wah Fu Estate Community

  • Mao Peter

 

Introduction of the community

Wah Fu Estate was built in 1963. It is located in Pok Fu Lam, south-western part of the Hong Kong Island. Such establishment of public estates was closely related to the fire accident at Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon in 1953, which is the milestone of public housing history in Hong Kong since that the government provide better and affordable public housing for Hong Kong residents. As a satellite town in Hong Kong, the Wah Fu Estate provides most of the basic facilities such as wet markets, schools, community hall, library, and public transportation as well. It is a quiet and pleasant place where the resident can enjoy a board sea view with hills behind. That is why the Wah Fu Estate is called a “luxurious estate for common people”.

It includes two phases of development. Wah Fu I with 12 blocks of buildings of old-slab design, and Wah Fu II with 6 blocks of twin-tower design.

Rationales for community issues

As the Wah Fu Estate has developed for more than 50 years, many of the original residents there have become the elderly. This can be seen to the latest census statistics as shown in table 1, the largest age group in the Wah Fu Estate is 45-64, about 30% of the overall population (Census and Statistics Department, 2011) and more than 20% are aged 65 and over. It is significantly higher than the ones of Southern District in general (13.7%). This demographic characteristic has greatly influenced the community need and problem of the Estate.

Table 1. Age structure of Wah Fu Estate and Southern District

Age group

Population

Wah Fu

Southern District

0 – 14

2,381

8.9%

31,800

11.7%

15 – 24

3,542

13.2%

32,600

12.0%

25 – 44

7,132

26.6%

83,100

30.7%

45 – 64

7,998

29.8%

88,900

32.8%

65 +

5,755

21.5%

34,800

12.8%

Total

26,808

100%

271,200

100%

Higher proportion of the aged people in the estate leads to the greater concern of health care and social welfare services provided in the Wah Fu estate for their deteriorating health conditions and higher demand for getting help from others.

The geographical location of the estate makes it mainly rely on the bus and minibus services. The provision of public transportation services to the MTR stations, other main districts in the Hong Kong Island and the other side of the Victoria Harbour is very crucial to the residents there.

The provision of social facilities such as shopping centres, restaurants are another concerns in the community especially those in the open area for the elder residents to take a rest and have better interactions with others.

Long history of Wah Fu Estate is reflected by the supporting pillars outside the buildings, decaying rooftop and messy electronic lines. The maintenance of the estate is a main and urgent issue in the community.

The latest development of the estate is the redevelopment, which has pronounced on the Chief Executive’s policy address this year. It can be projected that this will become the major issue of the community in the next few years.

Rationales choosing community work approach

To have the community work in such an old public estate, locality development can be used. It is one of the three models of community practices by Jack Rothman.

The relationship among the residents in the Wah Fu estate is very close as they live together for such a long time. Their bonding is strong that it is more effective to use this advantage to coordinate them in presenting and solving the community issues with the government and other stakeholders instead of advocate them to have social actions and campaigns.

The estate as a whole and even each of the buildings has their own Mutual Aid Committees or similar organizations. We can build up a close relationship with them and use their networks throughout our community work in order to have a greater effect to express their views to the public and solve the problems of the community.

There have some NGOs providing social services to the residents in the Wah Fu Estate, such as Salvation Army Wah Fu Centre for Senior Citizens and Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Southern District Integrated Elderly Service Centre, the collaboration with those NGOs which know the community situation well is also essential to have a better community work in Wah Fu estate.

Specific intervention strategies/empowerment plans

We can organize some outdoor seminars in the estate for the discussion of the community problems to let the residents concern the issues of their own community more. We can also build up the foundation of the membership and help them to set up the locality-based concern group to discuss issues faced by them including the maintenance of their apartments, provision of social facilities etc as I have mentioned before in this paper. Some sub-groups can also be set up for some typical issues like transportation and redevelopment programme. Throughout the discussion in these groups, they can have mutual support and build up their civic consciousness. They can make collaborative and informed decision or consensus by themselves and express them in one voice to the society. This is the process of empowerment to the residents of Wah Fu estate to handle issues of their community by themselves.

Another way which is more traditional to promote our community work is to set up a counter over the street and spread out our leaflets to present our service and get in touch with the residents. The periodic newsletter can be printed to the member, other relevant NGOs and organizations to publicize our activities and keep continuous contact with the residents.

Roles of Community Worker

The community worker can play the roles of enabler, instructor, facilitator and trainer.

We instruct the residents to speak up their opinions and views about the community issues in the concern group. We help them to coordinate different views and conflicts between them, that means to facilitate the discussion or empowerment process. Through these activities, it is an opportunity for us to train up the district leaders to help their neighbours for their own betterment of living.

Challenges and Difficulties

From the interviews conducted in our community walk, they concern more with the current issues in the estate such as health care and community facilities than the redevelopment programme that is believed to be the most concern issues in the community. They are widely believed that the redevelopment plan may take 5 to 10 years to complete which is too far away for them to think about it. As they have been waiting for a long time for the plan, their desire to concern about it has faded out. This is one of the main challenges to do the community work in Wah Fu estate.

The forums and visits from outsider about the redevelopment plan have also fatigued the residents and they have the tendency to alienate from it. It is another difficulty to get contact with them and start our community work.

Conclusion

In order to have an effective community work, helping and instructing them to present the existing problems that mentioned previously in this paper is significant to gain their trust. After that, we have to ensure the residents to know and realize that as it is one of the key statements in the policy address, the redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate will take place soon, then mobilize and empower them to work for solutions, to make their voice and requests about the redevelopment issues such as in-situ settlement can be heard by the government and the public.

References

Census and Statistics Department. (2011). 2011 Population Census. Retrieved from http://www.census2011.gov.hk/pdf/fact_sheets/estates/D_10182e.pdf http://www.census2011.gov.hk/en/major-housing-estate/10183.html

Rothman, J., Erlich, J. L., and Tropman, J. E. (eds.) 2008, Strategies of Community Intervention. (7th Ed.) Itasca, Illinois: F. E. Peacock. Chapter 7.


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