In 2002, unemployment was worsening in Hong Kong; along with a rise in suicidal and domestic violence cases; while a pessimistic sentiment prevailed across the society. Hence, in April 2004, the Church Campaign For the Unemployed was set up to raise funds from churches and the public to create more than 1,000 jobs and start-up business opportunities. A hotline 27555511 was also launched to offer emotional support and career counselling for the unemployed. Support was also given to various Christian organizations including Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship, Christian Action, Mission To New Arrivals Ltd etc. for the provision of various schemes and services to help grassroots people who are out of work. A Support Network for the Unemployed was also set up in East Kowloon, Shamshuipo, Tung Chung and the Central and Western District.
By early 2005, the employment situation in Hong Kong improved, but the gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen. To arouse concern for the poverty issue among churches, a seminar on showing concern for poor families in Hong Kong was held in January 2005 for pastors and church workers, followed by a press conference. Churches were called on to help the poor break the inter-generational poverty. For example, by allowing access to their venues to poor children, providing free tuitions and social activities for the children, and other partnership schemes, etc. The event won strong support from various sectors. In April 2006, the Church Campaign For the Unemployed was formally renamed the Hong Kong Church Network for the Poor.