Build profiles of the needy in each neighbourhood

For the past year, I have had the privilege of serving in the residents' committee (RC) in a mature estate.

Among the tasks of the RC is to liaise with and make recommendations to the authorities on the needs and aspirations of residents of a designated zone, and to disseminate information and channel feedback on government policies and actions from residents.

Many members of the RC have served for 10 years or more and they know who the needy residents are.

However, there is no process in place to profile the needy.

Each time there is a new assistance scheme, RC members

go by word of mouth to try to think of residents who would benefit.

As a result, many of the social assistance schemes are underutilised, as highlighted by Mr Lim Teck Koon ("Ways to ensure needy do not fall through the cracks"; Thursday).

I recommend that RC members be trained on the various assistance schemes and be equipped to proactively contact residents who meet the criteria of target recipients.

At the same time, RCs should develop accurate profiles of their needy neighbours so that they can help such neighbours benefit from the various social assistance schemes.

The Pioneer Generation Ambassadors programme that was launched in September last year is a great start.

Volunteers go through training to familiarise themselves with details of the Pioneer Generation Package and learn communication skills.

Their role is to proactively seek out senior citizens to explain the benefits of the Pioneer Generation Package to them.

When an RC member performs this role, senior citizens are more ready to open their doors to meet such volunteers, who are also their neighbours.

Liu Fook Thim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2015, with the headline 'Build profiles of the needy in each neighbourhood'. Print Edition | Subscribe