Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday promised to help the Down Syndrome Foundation find another location in Daan District (大安) for a workshop after some residents refused to have people with the syndrome as their neighbors.
The foundation had planned to move into a building on a corner of Anhe and Xinyi roads last month and open the workshop in in November.
However, the landlord asked the foundation to void the lease, saying that some of the building’s residents had voiced opposition to the plan, saying locating the workshop in the building would affect their quality of life, the foundation said.
Hau said he understood the obstacles the foundation is facing, and has instructed the Taipei City Department of Social Welfare Affairs to help it find a new location as soon as possible.
“When I was promoting the rights of the disabled groups as the head of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China 20 years ago, a social welfare foundation also had trouble finding a venue. I am sorry that a similar incident happened today, and the city government will do our best to help,” the mayor said.
Chang Chi-hui (張志慧), the foundation’s marketing manager, said the plan was to have 20 college graduates with Down syndrome make soaps and other products at the Daan workshop.
However, the program will be canceled if the foundation cannot launch the workshop by the end of this year, she said.
Hau dismissed concerns that the foundation workshop might affect housing prices in the district, and called on local residents to embrace the group.
The department said it will help the foundation communicate with residents in the district, and to find a new location for the workshop immediately.