15 August 2013
BRINGING SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AND CO-ORDINATED SOCIAL SERVICES CLOSER TO THE COMMUNITY
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has officially opened its first Social Service Office (SSO) at Kreta Ayer on 15 August 2013. The SSO was jointly launched by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development; Mr Sam Tan, Mayor of Central Singapore District; and Dr Lily Neo, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Aimed at improving the delivery of social services, the SSOs will bring social assistance touch points closer to the people. The SSOs will also work with voluntary welfare organisations and community partners in their areas to provide more coordinated assistance that better meet the needs of residents. “The network of Social Service Offices will establish the foundation for our future social service delivery. It will allow us to develop local solutions to local social challenges, leveraging on the local community resources and integrating the efforts of the Voluntary Welfare Organisations such as the Family Services Centres, Senior Activity Centres and other social service providers,” said Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing.
MORE ACCESSIBLE TOUCH POINTS
Kreta Ayer was chosen as one of the first locations for an SSO because of its larger proportion of elderly residents and public assistance recipients. With the setting up of the new SSO, residents in Chinatown, Outram and surrounding areas will find it more convenient to seek help. MSF officers will also find it easier to reach out to both community partners and residents, including meeting them at their homes if the need arises.
Since it started operations in mid July, the SSO@Kreta Ayer has served more than 300 residents. Residents have given positive feedback, especially on the shorter travelling distance. Those who forgot to bring along important documents also found it easier to pick up the documents from their homes or to drop by the next day. This in turn means a quicker processing time for financial assistance applications.
BETTER SERVICE CO-ORDINATION
Another function of the SSO is to work with local partners to provide better and more coordinated assistance to residents. In the Outram and Bukit Merah HDB towns, the SSOs will work with over 100 community partners*. Local planning officers from the SSO will walk the ground and engage partner agencies to better the needs of the residents and the local resources available. This will enable the SSO to work with the community partners to render more coordinated and effective assistance to the residents.
VIEWS FROM COMMUNITY PARTNERS
“I am glad to welcome the Social Service Office @ Kreta Ayer into our community. The local planning function of mapping the current social services and emerging needs has been a great asset for the FSC. The FSC can corroborate the local knowledge gathered by the SSO and help to drive the setting of much needed services for the community. In addition, having the SSO close to community and accessible has made it easier for residents in need to receive service. The close partnership that we hope to forge with the SSO will also help in quicker and relevant services being rendered to the residents in need,” said Mr Udhia Kumar, Executive Director, Tanjong Pagar FSC.
“It has been a positive experience working with the Social Service Office @ Kreta Ayer. The SSO will be a key local partner in helping to coordinate the work of VWOs and other agencies in the area. Their presence in the area will make assistance for needy residents even more accessible and relevant than before. Bukit Merah East NPC has a programme targeted at protecting and educating our elderly citizens on crime concerns, namely the ‘Silver Watch Programme’. We are looking into collaborative opportunities with the SSO on this programme to reach out to the needy elderly,” said Mr Ong Hock Boon, Commanding Officer, Bukit Merah East Neighbourhood Police Centre.
* Depending on the needs of the beneficiaries, the local partners involved may include grassroots organisations, Community Development Councils, Family Service Centres, Senior Activity Centres, eldercare and disability service providers, self-help groups, neighbourhood police centres, HDB branch office, schools, hospitals, and others.
Social Service Office @ Kreta Ayer
Blk 4 Sago Lane #03-101
Monday to Friday: 9am – 1pm, 2pm - 5pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: Closed
24-hour ComCare Call Helpline: 1800-222-0000