Seoul to open social welfare institute next week

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Seoul to open social welfare institute next week

The city government of Seoul is launching its own social welfare institute on March 11 that will provide more options for services such as at-home care for the elderly and people with impairments.

“Until now, many of the institutes providing welfare services for people in need have been managed by private companies,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement Sunday. “By establishing a welfare institute run by the city government, we hope to provide more enhanced and wider options for those seeking at-home care for the elderly and public day care for young children.”

The institute - tentatively named Seoul Social Service One - will establish and run more public day care centers throughout the city; build more public welfare centers that cater to people with long-term illnesses or who are bed-ridden; and train more social workers and welfare policy experts to work in both public and private institutes.

Located in Mapo District, western Seoul, Seoul Social Service One will hire some 570 staff members by June and begin providing services in the latter half of the year.

The institute will be led by former senior researcher at Seoul Institute, a city government-run think tank, Joo Jin-woo. Joo was previously a special advisor on policy to Mayor Park Won-soon from 2012 to 2014, and the Seoul deputy mayor’s advisor on labor policy from 2011 to 2012.

The establishment of Seoul Social Service One was a plan put forward by Mayor Park during his election campaign last year. Park, who was first elected mayor of Seoul in 2011, was re-elected for his third term last year.

The announcement of Seoul Social Service One follows a string of policies announced over the past few months by the city government to improve the welfare of low-income families and small merchants.

The Seoul city government is supporting a project by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Financial Services Commission (FSS) to reduce commission fees paid by businesses through a mobile transaction system called Zero Pay.

Also recently announced by the city government is a policy to subsidize vacation costs for contract workers in Seoul. Last month, the city government said that it will provide support for the domestic travel of 2,000 contracted workers from low-income families residing in Seoul this year. An individual who meets the requirements can apply and, if selected, will receive 250,000 won ($222) to support their travel costs.

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