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 The needy still lack awareness of help schemes

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Registration date : 2009-01-03

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PostSubject: The needy still lack awareness of help schemes   The needy still lack awareness of help schemes Icon_minitimeTue Feb 03, 2009 6:17 pm

The needy still lack awareness of help schemes
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 03 February 2009 0015 hrs

SINGAPORE: Of the S$6.25m budgeted for the CCC-ComCare Fund, only S$1.57m was disbursed to the needy and low-income families in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

That was slightly higher than the S$1.53m disbursed for the whole of the previous fiscal year which ended in March 2008.

Although this means more people are seeking help, the government feels the Fund's relatively low usage can be attributed to a lack of awareness among the needy.

With the current economic crisis, the government expects more people to seek help.

In fact, cases under ComCare schemes like Work Support and ComCare Transitions have seen a slight increase - from 3,749 for the whole of fiscal year 2007 to 4,159 in the first nine months of this fiscal year.

Still, more can be done.

Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth & Sports, said: "The key thing is that there may be still some people who do not know where to go (for help). So I call upon those who really face difficulty to come forward to discuss with us and see how to help them.

"But, like what you said just now, not many people use this fund. I think it is not necessarily a bad thing because Singaporeans still have a very good value, they want to be self-reliant, they want to help themselves, (seeking help) through the family and so on."

In a bid to assure the public that the government has enough resources to help - especially since the CCC-Comcare Fund will be raised to S$7 million a year for the next two years as announced in the 2009 Budget - MCYS will be stepping up efforts to make sure that those in need do not fall between any cracks in the system.

Besides strengthening the network of grassroots leaders who have direct contact with needy residents, the ministry also hopes to encourage stakeholders to exercise flexibility when disbursing help. This includes training them to be more discerning of genuine cases.

The ministry is also looking to create greater awareness of the many help schemes available. If anyone needs assistance and does not know how to go about getting aid, they can call the Comcare hotline at 1800-222-0000 for directions about the various help schemes available.

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