SINGAPORE - A $4 million relief fund has been launched to help Singaporean households affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It aims to help up to 8,000 households, with each household receiving a one-time relief of $500.
The fund was jointly launched by the five Community Development Councils (CDCs) and the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS) in a ceremony held at the monastery on Saturday (Dec 19).
The Buddhist temple has donated $2 million, the largest sum given by a religious institution for a Covid-19 initiative, and the amount is being matched by the CDCs.
The temple, along with community partners such as grassroots organisations, will identify the beneficiaries of the fund.
The relief fund is open only to Singaporeans aged 21 and above who are currently unemployed and have experienced a total loss of income due to non-voluntary no-pay leave, retrenchment or termination of employment for at least three months at the point of application.
Applicants should not be from households that are already receiving other CDC-related Covid-19 relief fund monies to ensure that more households can benefit from this fund, the CDCs added in a statement.
Speaking at the launch of the fund on Saturday, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said that the new relief fund complements the various avenues of support for households financially affected by the pandemic.
The CDCs have been steadily rallying the community, rolling out over 100 Covid-19 initiatives to date and helping more than 670,000 beneficiaries over the last nine months, he added.
"Let us continue to put Singaporeans at the centre of everything we do, especially during this crisis. It is the little victories and celebrations, like phase three, that are testament of the good work that we put in together - leaders, citizens, everybody," Mr Masagos said.
The monastery's abbot, Venerable Kwang Sheng, said that there is a need to extend compassion and help to others more than ever amid the Covid-19 crisis.
"We hope this new fund can bring healing to the hearts and minds of those drastically affected by the pandemic," he said.
Ms Low Yen Ling, chairman of the mayors' committee and mayor of South West District, said: "Organisations like KMSPKS play an integral role in strengthening the resilience of our community.
"Together, we help ensure no one is left behind and that those who need help, can get the support and attention they need."