SINGAPORE - Three financial support schemes to help those who lost their jobs or had their incomes cut because of the Covid-19 pandemic have helped close to half a million people in Singapore.
Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development (MSF), said that the Temporary Relief Fund, Covid-19 Support Grant and the Covid-19 Recovery Grant have benefited about 480,000 individuals as at the end of last year.
She was speaking on Tuesday (March 15), which is also World Social Work Day, at the Post-Pandemic Challenges And Planning for Social Services online conference organised by the National University of Singapore's Social Service Research Centre.
Noting that the pandemic affected vulnerable groups more, Ms Sun said the Covid-19 financial support measures complemented pre-pandemic assistance schemes such as ComCare financial assistance to these groups.
The community also stepped up, she said, citing how the SG Cares Community Networks - comprising various public, corporate and community agencies - checked in on 50,000 families living in public rental flats since the pandemic started in 2020, to check on their well-being.
The network has connected about 5,000 families to agencies for different kinds of aid, Ms Sun said.
"The pandemic has thrown up new gaps and exacerbated existing needs in our communities. Yet, it has prompted new solutions towards these challenges and brought the sector and the community closer together," Ms Sun said.
This heightens the need for sound research and evaluation of programmes to better understand post-pandemic challenges and how to tackle them, she added.
She noted that her ministry has committed $1.4 million over three years to the Social Service Research Centre to support the social service sector in building these capabilities.
The centre and MSF are also working together on a study of youth offenders and their families to find out how the community can provide more support to these youth and their families in the rehabilitation and reintegration process.