Monday, June 29, 2009

CDCs see 40% increase in households seeking help

By Hoe Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 29 June 2009 2001 hrs

TeoSerLuck Teo Ser Luck (file pic)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Community Development Councils (CDCs) have seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help as a result of the current economic downturn.

As Singapore's five mayors begin a new term, their focus will be on helping the needy.

In these tough times, mayors said "business" has gone up.

In the first quarter of this year, the number of families seeking help went up by 40 percent, while those looking for work doubled.

Between January and March 2009, the five CDCs received 5,540 applications for social assistance, compared to 3,934 a year ago.

The number of people seeking help in finding jobs went up from 5,844 in the first quarter of 2008 to 11,790 in the first quarter of this year.

Community Development Councils (CDCs) were first created in 1997 to bring back a sense of community spirit among residents. Since then they've taken on additional functions, including the delivery of a wide range of social services, such as financial assistance schemes and help in finding a job.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for the five mayors on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said: “The CDCs play a crucial role because they're close to the ground and therefore more attuned to ground needs and the constraints and circumstances in your areas.

“You can deliver assistance to where it's most needed, where it's most deserved, and you can help Singaporeans get back on their feet and be more self-reliant."

New mayor Teo Ser Luck, who takes over from Zainul Abidin Rasheed, said his first task is to examine how resources are managed.

Mr Teo is also the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport ministries.

He said: "We have plenty of programmes and I'm not sure if every single one is effective. And the other thing is I'm not sure if it's well-served for the residents. We need to look through all the programmes and see which ones meet the targets and which don't so that funds are better allocated."

Mr Zainul steps down as mayor after 10 years.

But the rest of the mayoral line-up remains unchanged - Dr Amy Khor at South West district; Dr Teo Ho Pin at North West district; Mr Zainudin Nordin at Central district and Mr Matthias Yao at South East district.

The mayors also plan to better coordinate efforts between grassroots organisations so that help can be better delivered. - CNA/vm

From; see the source article here.

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