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Four more Social Service Offices to open next year

This will bring the total number of Social Service Offices to 23 islandwide, exceeding the initial target of 20. 

SINGAPORE: Another four Social Service Offices will open by the middle of next year (2015). They will be located in Bukit Batok, Hougang, Pasir Ris and Punggol respectively. Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced this at the official opening of the 11th Social Service Office in Sengkang on Thursday (July 24).

This will bring the total number of Social Service Offices to 23 islandwide, exceeding the initial target of 20. So far, 10 such offices are up and running and three new ones have started operations at Ang Mo Kio, Queenstown and Bedok.

Mr Chan also said Social Service Offices and Family Service Offices will get the first access to the national database of information on aid recipients, called Social Service Net, when it is ready next year.

"As and when we need to increase the number of Social Service Offices, we will assess it based on the needs of the respective towns, but essentially, by the time we have these 23 up, we should have one in every of the URA planning towns. When we announced the 20 in the initial estimate, we based it on the rough geographical location and dispersal," said Mr Chan.

"But after we have started operations and we have a better fix on the case load and the demand from the each of the town, we are further refining the plans. Which is why we now have an entire network of 23. With the new towns coming up, we will re-assess again to see whether there are such needs. For example, you can conceivably imagine that next time when there is a Tengah new town and so forth, then we will re-assess the local needs of the community."

At the Social Service Office in Sengkang, staff from the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) are stationed there every Tuesday to help residents find jobs. Project Success, a grassroots organisation initiative, is also stationed at the office on Mondays and Wednesdays to help with job placements.

Since it started operations on June 2, about 500 residents have walked in to get financial help and employment assistance.

"We are also seeing the lower-skilled, lower-wages residents. They are also younger and they also have a lot of barriers preventing them from being independent - for example, education and skills," said Lim Lay Ling, General Manager, Sengkang Social Service Office. 

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