New Social Service Office launched in Boon Lay

A Social Service Office (SSO) was launched in Boon Lay on Thursday, bringing the Ministry of Social and Family Development closer to its target to set up 20 SSOs in HDB towns islandwide.

Located at Blk 189, Boon Lay Drive, it is one of 10 SSOs to be set up since the middle of last year. Nine more will be progressively rolled out this year.

The SSOs bring help closer to needy residents and allow voluntary welfare organisations and community partners in their areas to provide more coordinated social services.

Acting Minister of Community, Culture and Youth Lawrence Wong, who is also an MP for West Coast GRC, said there are plans for a new Family Service Centre (FSC) to be built just across the road so that the SSO can work closely together with it.

"Boon Lay has one of the highest number of financial assistance cases in the South West district and so needs are the greatest," said Mr Wong.

The SSOs, together with the current 43 FSCs islandwide, will form a network that will put help within 2km of where 95 per cent of needy residents live or work.

General Manager of the Boon Lay SSO Chong Soo Fern said the close proximity of the FSC, which is temporarily operating within the premises of Boon Lay Community Centre, allows the SSO's case workers to do joint interviews and home visits.

"Clients don't like to repeat their case details over and over and in the past, referrals can take one or two days," said Ms Chong.

"Now, when the clients come down to the SSO, we immediately call the social workers at the FSC to come over and listen in."

After noticing that the area has many disengaged elderly hanging out at void decks, staff from the SSO is also working closely with the nearby Senior Activity Centre to reach out to them.