- POSTED: 26 Dec 2013 20:06
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There has been an 11 per cent increase in the number of Singaporeans approaching the five Community Development Councils (CDCs) for social assistance in the first 10 months of 2013.
SINGAPORE: There has been an 11 per cent increase in the number of Singaporeans approaching the five Community Development Councils (CDCs) for social assistance in the first 10 months of 2013.
One reason for this is the revision of the qualifying criteria, says coordinating Mayor for the five CDCs Dr Amy Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health.
On the other hand, the number of people who need help finding jobs has dropped.
Programmes implemented by Singapore's five CDCs come in different forms, ranging from meals and transport vouchers to bursaries for children from low-income families.
"For the vulnerable seniors, we partner with a number of VWOs (volunteer welfare organisations) in our district,” said Dr Teo Ho Pin, mayor of North West District.
“The whole idea is to identify those who are vulnerable seniors and how we can partner with different partners -- including the grassroots organisations -- to actually befriend and give support not only to the vulnerable seniors but also their caregivers. So, we have a programme where we provide a support system for vulnerable seniors."
For the first 10 months of 2013, the CDCs handled nearly 58,000 applications for social assistance, with close to S$80 million disbursed.
"The increase in social assistance applications across the district is due to the enhanced criteria for the government's financial assistance scheme since April 2012, as well as increasing awareness of the assistance available to help low-income families and the vulnerable elderly. This is due to intensified outreach,” said Dr Amy Khor, who is also Mayor of South West District.
“The bulk of the assistance is given in terms of interim financial assistance to families whose sole breadwinner might have lost the job or fallen sick; they are unable to cope with the living expenses based on the existing household income. So assistance is given to them until the breadwinner finds a job or returns to work, or they are able to raise their household income and to become self-reliant again.”
One programme started by volunteers in Central Singapore CDC allows seniors a choice in the types of provisions they require.
When it comes to jobs assistance, the five CDC career centres received some 21,500 applications between January and October 2013, which is a 7 per cent drop over the same period in 2012.
Despite the tight labour market, the CDCs have been pressing on with their job placement programmes.
"One of the flagship programmes... is community employment where we actually look for jobs within the community and (these jobs are) being filled by job seekers within the community...it has benefited more than 500 people,” said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, who is also Mayor of North East District.
“These are part-time jobs over a six-month period...So far it has benefited many of them, especially those who are elderly and more senior and finding it hard to find employment. So we put them in these temporary jobs, (where) they can help the community in different ways," he said.
The mayors emphasise that their key focus is to complement the government's efforts in its pledge to do more by strengthening the social safety net and promote collective responsibility amongst all.