Fri, Jan 23, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City to issue food vouchers to families in need

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced it would issue NT$5,000 in food vouchers to 10,000 families starting in March in an effort to give prompt aid to people suffering due to the recent economic slowdown.

The food vouchers will be given to low-income or unemployed families not included in the city’s social welfare assistance system. Local borough chiefs and social workers will be responsible for visiting and selecting eligible local households, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday at a press conference at Taipei City Hall.

Those who receive the vouchers can use them to purchase food and other products at FamilyMart stores around the nation. The vouchers cannot be used to purchase cigarettes or alcohol.

Hau said many households faced sudden economic difficulties because of the global financial crisis during this past year, and the food voucher would help take care of these families.

“The city government understands the people’s pain, and the criteria used to determine the eligible households will not be too strict because it is our goal to help those in need,” he said.

Low-income families and homeless people already in the city’s social care system and receiving municipal subsidies from Taipei City’s Department of Social Welfare would not be eligible for the program, commissioner of the department Shih Yu-ling (師豫玲) said.

The program has a budget of NT$45 million, but Hau said the city government would appropriate more funds and send out more food vouchers to others in need.

Huang Lu Ching-ru (黃呂錦茹), commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs, said the convenience store chain FamilyMart was selected to handle the vouchers because it was one of the contractors authorized by the central government, and the company was willing to provide discounts.

The Taipei City Government’s food vouchers came in the wake of a similar program implemented by the Kaohsiung City Government earlier this month. The Kaohsiung City Government issued a monthly NT$1,500 food voucher to 300 low-income families starting this month.

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