The Social Lab

Transformational Initiatives

At SCC, we endeavour to support and work with our low-income and vulnerable families out of poverty and to become better enablers in the community through transformational initiatives. These include:

1. KeyStart Home Ownership Programme

Supporting low-income families with children living in rental flats to own homes of their own.

2. Education & Learning Support

Did you know that only 11% of children from families under our FSC’s care ended up in a better educational strata at the Secondary school level, as compared to the National Average of 61% who are able to progress into an Express Stream Cohort? This means they have lesser access to equal opportunities and limited support to help level the playing field.  


3. Practice Research & Evaluation 

Collaborate with the transformation team to determine the effectiveness of our work and conduct research to improve practice. Build research competency and a culture of evidence-based learning. 

4. ABCD Learning Site

SCC is the 1st ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) learning site in Singapore. A learning site is a “living laboratory”, an ongoing learning and experiential space for the community to learn together on how to discover and connect disconnected assets in a resident-led way.

5. Family Partnership Programme

Matching of volunteers (Family Partners) with low-income families in a supportive relationship to enhance their overall functioning amidst adversity.

1. Keystart Home Ownership Programme

35 families out of 95 families were approved and placed into KeyStart in FY2018/19

83% of KeyStart families live on a per capita of less than $650 monthly

Types of families on KeyStart







All families have at least 1 schooling child.

69% of KeyStart families have 3 or less children


31% of KeyStart families have more than 3 children



rental blocks within SCC boundaries were outreached to raise awareness of the KeyStart


children were supported through KeyStart Home Ownership Initiative


individuals engaged through activities for housing literacy and KeyStart outreach

Types of funds given to families on KeyStart



Access Fund


Basic Habitation


Many of our low-income families hope to move into a home that they can call their own. For families in rental housing, the aspiration to own a home so as to provide permanence and better environment for their children, especially the young, are even more profound. However, and very often, practical constraints exist which incapacitated them from realising their hope of home ownership.

Anecdotally, children are known to demonstrate positive outcomes when their families move (from rental-housing neighbourhood) to permanent homes. Towards this end, SCC, in collaboration with Mainly I Love Kids (MILK) piloted the KeyStart Home Ownership programme to support home ownership.


Credit Committee

Access Fund

This fund will top up the cash shortfall that families may have when purchasing a HDB flat

Basic Habitation Fund

This fund will support families without any means to pay for basic needs in their new home and make it habitable for them. (E.g. Window grills, basic kitchen cabinets, floor and installation of basic lights.)

Mortgage Crisis Fund

This fund is a short-term support that helps families who are experiencing unexpected crises due to no fault of theirs, including retrenchment and sudden illness, resulting in short-term inability.

KeyStart FAQ

KeyStart supports low-income families with young children who have home ownership aspirations.
KEYSTART funding is separated into 3 domains of housing support. 

  • Access Fund (Cash Shortfall) – This fund will top up the cash shortfall families may have when purchasing a HDB flat (provided they have exhausted all their options) so as to help families access a stable home.
  • Basic Habitation Fund (Basic Facilities and Move-in costs) – This fund will support families without any means to pay for basic needs in their new home and will make it habitable for them.
  • Mortgage Support Fund (Mortgage Crisis support) – This fund is a short-term support that helps families who are experiencing unexpected crisis due to no fault of theirs, including retrenchment and sudden illness, resulting in short-term inability to pay for their mortgage
I have not applied for a flat yet. Can I still apply for KeyStart?

Yes. We can base your application on the estimated cost of your future flat.

I have not applied for my Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter yet. Can I still apply for KeyStart?
I do not have a social worker. How do I apply for KeyStart?
Is there an income ceiling for KeyStart?
I intend to purchase private housing. Can I apply for KeyStart?
I do not have any children. Can I apply for KeyStart?
My child is 21 years old. Can I apply for KeyStart?
I have never stayed in a public rental flat. Can I still apply for KeyStart?
I’m not sure whether I am eligible for an HDB flat. Can KeyStart help me?

2. Education and Learning Support

To eradicate the reproduction of entrenched poverty, we need to believe in the potential of the next generation to excel and be committed to nurturing their dreams and aspirations as a community. Building on this strong belief, SCC collaborates with the community to provide support for school going children from vulnerable families to increase access to learning opportunities to do well academically.

Assets in the community are also found, built upon, and mobilised to support the children and to realise their potential. For instance, the mothers in the community would rostered themselves with home-cooked nutritious meals for the children when they attend additional educational support; while volunteers are recruited to provide experiential learning opportunities for the children to build good values and to spark the joy of learning.

In our effort to boost students better streaming outcomes in Primary Six, SCC, in collaboration with community partners, ran two programmes – all with the sole intent of preparing our children from low-income and vulnerable families sit for their Primary 6 PSLE to have better streaming outcomes and that all goes to secondary schools. In PIPS (Pass In Primary Six), students attend weekly small group English tuition taught by professional tutors, while PLAH (Project Lend A Hand) provides intensive support for Primary 6 students in English, Mathematics, and Science.

3. Practice Research & Evaluation

Since 2016, we have completed 7 practice research studies and 2 evaluation projects. In SCC, we aim to:

Build Capacity for Evidence-Informed Practice 

Encourage a Culture of Learning amongst Practitioners for better impact on families served 

Encourage learning and reflection to improve practice  

Our areas of work:

Learn Together

We conduct workshops and provide mentorship to practitioners to sharpen their investigative lenses.

We create a culture of learning by facilitating learning circles.  

Evaluate and Improve

We evaluate our programmes and initiatives to:

  • Determine effectiveness
  • Test proof of concept
  • Determine whether initiatives are in line with key principles 
  • Collaborate & Discover 

    We conduct practice research to discover new insights and improve practice.

    We have conducted research on topics such as home ownership, education, and community-centric casework.

    We are recipients of a grant from the Mrs Lee Choon Guan Endowed Research Fund for our study on asset-building.
    Please click here to read our research reports.  

    Share & Engage 

    We share findings and learning points with the community and other stakeholders. For example, we hold community events such as “My Children’s Education and I” where we share how children in the community are faring in education, with the aim of inspiring parents and stakeholders to take action. 

    SCC uses QuestionPro to support our research and evaluation work. QuestionPro provides unparalleled insights and just launched enterprise features including Communities, Customer ExperienceWorkforce and Mobile.

    4. ABCD Learning Site

    What is ABCD Learning Site?

    SCC is the 1st ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) learning site in Singapore - a “living laboratory” or ongoing learning and experiential site for ABCD community practice & sharing site for others in practice.

    Learning Site at a Glance

    Community Building

    To build and strengthen connections between neighbours, across associations and institutions thereby increasing community cohesion and ownership


    Sharing and gathering of impactful stories by community that has made a difference to local lives through neighbours getting together around a shared interest or issue


    Learning process offers training, mentoring and development input to advance neighbourhood initiatives


    To be committed to learning from the community and practicing the principles of ABCD

    1st Learning site in Singapore. Sharing and learning from experiences from around the world

    Community connectors

    Residents trained ABCD who mobilise and run community-led initiative

    BY residents FOR residents

    Towards an empowered community

    for ownership and sustainable change to happen

    Aligned to SCC’s vision of community empowerment

    Community led-initiatives

    Projects, based on interests/issues, taken on BY residents for residents 

    Gotong Royong Creating stronger connections and exchanges between neighbours

    Community Animators

    Staff trained as ABCD guides who discover and mentor community connectors . 

    1st Learning site in Singapore. Sharing and learning from experiences from around the world

    5. Family Partnership Programme

    Family Partnership Model

    Helping Process

    Characteristics of
    parents & children

    Family Partnership

    Other Community
    Platform / Support

    SW Skills
    & Qualities

    Better Outcomes

    Added natural support through friendship

    Greater opportunities to resources

    Increased family resilience & coping

    Family Partnership Programme is an organic and enhanced holistic approach implemented as part of the helping process and support to our families and members. The role of Family Partners (FPs) are to be matched where they subsequently build supportive relationships with their matched family. The intention is to complement the helping and supportive process beyond the confines of the professional help of the social workers. FPs can support and complement social workers in helping members meet their needs and/or build on needs, interests, and strengths and also facilitate access to opportunities, exposure and experiences as they are generally from a different socio-economic status.