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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 28 June 2005

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ComCare Fund for needy Singaporeans Launched

Source: www.mcys.gov.sg

LAUNCH OF COMCARE - A SPRINGBOARD FOR THE NEEDY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today launched the ComCare Fund, which will help to ensure that no Singaporean is left behind while Singapore progresses.

With economic restructuring, a small but growing minority of Singaporeans will face hardship. ComCare will provide a safety net for this small group, and serve as a springboard for them to become self-reliant. With ComCare, there will be:

 

-     Targeted services for needy Singaporeans to achieve self reliance, (through ComCare SelfReliance); helping the children from needy families break out of the poverty cycle (through ComCare Grow); and assisting those who need long-term support including the elderly without family support and persons with disabilities (through ComCare EnAble[1]).

 

-     Greater decentralisation of the administration of social assistance to the community and grassroots organisations, and more flexibility in rendering help.

 

-     Simplification of social assistance schemes and processes, to make help more accessible.

The ComCare Fund complements the other elements of Singapore¡¯s social safety net, such as Medifund, Edusave and the Lifelong Learning Fund.
ComCare will focus on addressing the social and financial needs of low income Singaporeans and their families. It will aim to look at the underlying problems faced by the needy and address them in a holistic manner. ComCare will be based on mutual responsibility. It will help those who are willing to do their part to help themselves.
Under ComCare, more will be done for needy Singaporeans, in focused and effective ways. For example, ComCare will ensure that no child will be denied access to pre-school education just because his or her family is poor. MCYS will work with Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and Grassroots Organisations (GROs) to proactively reach out to needy families to get them to put their children in kindergarten.
In addition, the amount of assistance given to children under the Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) will be revised upwards from a maximum of $50 a month, to $65 a month. On average, a needy family would benefit from a further 43% reduction in their children¡¯s kindergarten fees. They will typically only pay about $20 each month to send their child to kindergarten. Please see Annex A for details.
Through ComCare, the government will engage the community to deliver social assistance more effectively. In particular, PM Lee emphasised the vital role that GROs, such as Citizens¡¯ Consultative Committees (CCCs), can play in assisting needy Singaporeans. The GROs are closer to the ground, and therefore better understand of the needs and circumstances of needy Singaporeans.
The government has therefore announced that ComCare will allocate $4 million to the CCCs to help them set up CCC ComCare Funds. The money will help to augment the resources that CCCs have to assist those in need in their community. It will also give the CCCs the flexibility to provide assistance to those who might otherwise not receive any. (Details in Annex B)
Community-based organisations, GROs and VWOs will be empowered to do more for the needy in their midst. $10 million will be set aside each year under ComCare for innovative pilot programmes to assist the low-income. (Details in Annex C) GROs and VWOs can apply to the ComCare Supervisory Committee to tap on this fund to start pilot programmes to help the needy.
MCYS has also been working with the People¡¯s Association, the Community Development Councils, the National Council of Social Service, several grassroots organisations and VWOs to develop pilot programmes that would be funded under ComCare. For example:

 

(i)         ComCare Meals-at-Home for Homebound Needy Elderly

 

(ii)        ComCare Therapy @ Home

 

(iii)       ComCare Silver Connect

These programmes underscore the government¡¯s Many Helping Hands approach in ensuring that no one is left behind. (Details in Annex D)
Some existing programmes will also be enhanced under ComCare. For instance, MCYS will re-focus its Social Enterprise Fund into a ComCare Enterprise Fund (CEF) which will focus on helping needy Singaporeans.
The CEF will provide seed funding to start sustainable business enterprises that will help needy Singaporeans either by employing them, or by running relevant services to help them. This will further encourage self-reliance.
MCYS will also put in an additional $1m into the budget of the CEF, so that the fund will have an annual budget of $3m. (Details in Annex E)
The ComCare Supervisory Committee will announce additional programmes to be launched over the next few months.
ComCare will also be simplifying social assistance schemes and processes. This would allow people in genuine need to get assistance more efficiently.

ISSUED BY:

MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, YOUTH AND SPORTS

28 June 2005

More..... (Annexes)
Prime Minister Lee's Speech

Source: www.mcys.gov.sg Press Release 28 Jun 2005

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