“The Visiting Community Service Center” program, established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in July 2015 in an effort to resolve the issues relating to welfare dead zones, is celebrating its one-year anniversary of implementation.
The community service centers, which previously handled civil complaints and administrative process for residents who visited the centers, have transformed into welfare service bases that visit residents in need, and as a result they are receiving a favorable external evaluation for bringing innovative improvements to the welfare delivery system.
First, the public officials in charge, welfare planners, and visiting nurses newly assigned to 80 different districts visited the residents a total of 132,210 times last year. The figure increased by nearly 2.5 times compared to the year prior to the implementation of the Visiting Community Service Centers.
The visiting counseling service offered an opportunity to understand the detailed circumstances of local residents by communicating with them, and led to 12,281 newly discovered low-income families in crisis. In an effort to prevent tragedies such as the instance in which a mother and her daughters from Songpa-gu committed suicide due to financial hardships, the SMG provided a total of 4.1 billion won for 8,791 residents in need of emergency living and housing expenses through the “Seoul-type emergency welfare support”.
In addition, the SMG is helping the families in need escape from crises by providing 14,437 cases of customized support, such as arranging temporary accommodation, requesting customized benefits, linking hospitals and other institutions, and others.
Second, the visiting health service for senior citizens aged 65 to 70 and families with babies, the first and only universal welfare service implemented in the country, is operated through the Visiting Community Service Center program, and is also showing positive results.
A total of 30,694 senior citizens aged 65 to 70 are currently receiving visiting health services, among which 7,209 senior citizens in danger of Alzheimer’s disease have been discovered, and a total of 12,966 cases have been linked to medical institutions that can provide necessary services for them.
A total of 5,683 families with babies have received health service for babies and mothers, as well as counseling and information programs regarding breast-feeding, childcare, and others. For those who need more assistance, the nurses are paying regular visits until the child becomes two years old.
Another significant change resulting from the implementation of the “Visiting Community Service Center” is that in addition to the public system being reformed, a neighborhood community is being developed in which residents try to find solutions to local problems and participate in making decisions about the plans of the neighborhood and their implementation.
The SMG has also reinforced the human and administrative infrastructure for the smooth implementation of the Visiting Community Service Center.
In 2016, the SMG will fully implement the second stage of this project based on the results above, and expand the project to 25 boroughs and 424 districts.