Hope Care system(HCS)
Hope Care Center

The Problem

To help those with low income maintain a basic living, Korea enacted the Basic Livelihood Security (BLS) system in October 2000, and since then has been expanding the scope of the institutional support and expenditure in the field of social welfare including the subsidy of day care fees and the enforcement of the basic old age pension system. Despite the increasing spending on social welfare, the actual public sentiment regarding the services has been unsatisfactory. The central government has been implementing a variety of efforts to deal with the problem including the establishment of new welfare plans, the development of new computer systems and the re-organization of administrative organizations, but none of these efforts led to any tangible results. In the case of Namyangju City, however, regional features are added to the above-mentioned problems, making the city government’s efforts more difficult.

The size of Namyangju City at 458.535 square meters is about 75% that of Seoul, but its population of 577,448 citizens is only 5.5% of the population of the capital city. The living zone of the city spans several sub-centers and this creates difficulties for a welfare service center located in one particular district to successfully cover the entire city. As there are only three private service centers, two senior welfare centers and one center for the disabled, the city needed to come up with alternatives for covering the whole city.

The existing service centers have provided assistance only to those living in the areas covered by the community service centers. Where there was more than one service center, this often resulted in overlapping aid given to the same recipients, while little or no aid was provided to those in need where the centers were located far from their residents. Despite these problems, there have been no successful countermeasures initiated which could locally rearrange such services and cover all areas.

From the perspective of the recipients, they were not very aware of the services they were legally entitled to, and, if they were, most of them failed to receive or make use of such services as they had to find and get to the service centers themselves and also relatively lacked the ability to cope with this situation.

The BLS system, one of the central government’s major cash aid programs, strictly classifies recipients based on their minimum cost of living, but the system has been unable to cover those who actually belong to the same income bracket as the recipients but are excluded due to a slight difference in their level of income. Furthermore, the system was unable to cover such contingencies as urgent medical expenses or educational expenses, which low-income parents needed to break the cycle of poverty for their children.

Coping with these problems within the existing institutional framework requires a significant increase in the social welfare budget, but budgetary limits did not allow the central and local governments to assign more for such efforts, including the building of more service centers and the enhancement of financial aid to low income families.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative is designed to install independent centers of a public-private partnership called Hope Care Centers in ‘blind’ areas that have not been covered by the conventional administrative network and function in cooperation with the diverse public and private social welfare, volunteer and counseling organizations to ultimately establish a new social welfare network responsible for the entire city.

As part of the public-private partnership efforts, the initiative had the Central Hope Care Center installed in the City Hall, which houses the government officials and specialists from the private sector, and the regional Hope Care Centers across the four districts of the city, whose management is entrusted to private entities. Although the regional centers are managed by the private sector, the city government has ensured they are responsibly operated in a manner differentiated from the conventional private-sector welfare organizations so that no recipients are denied services due to distance, administrative burden or any other reason. These efforts integrated the welfare service organizations from both the public and private sectors under the one roof of the Hope Care Centers, which, through the expansive network encompassing all areas of Namyangju City, provide combined public and private welfare services to the underprivileged citizens of the city. In order to mitigate potential blind spots in the city and provide on-the-spot services to those who are unable to move about very well, the Central Hope Care Center provides Travelling Hope Care services by which the service vehicles visit underprivileged areas.

Namyangju City also developed the Hope Care Computer System and established the basic database based on the results of the complete enumeration studies conducted regarding those who are in need of welfare services. All the details of services provided to the citizens in the city have been entered into a database to alleviate overlapping or the missing of those in need. Through the Hope Care Computer System, the city established an extensive service network that connects it with the government welfare officials and other service organizations in the city to let the agencies and organizations share information and enable those that receive a request for services to individually respond to such request. This system helped remove the possibility of overlapping services provided to the same recipients.

In an effort to overcome budgetary limits, the city worked to promote a culture of sharing and collect donations from citizens to help provide living, medical and educational expenses to those who are not legally eligible for such services and assistance despite financial difficulties.

Through the system, those having multiple issues among those who are protected and classified as low income became eligible to receive a variety of services collectively, while even those who have not been legally protected will now receive services by virtue of donations and volunteer services.

The number of services provided has continued to increase from about 16,000 cases in 2007 when the initiative was in its early stage to more than 170,000 as of December of 2011. Also, over 1 billion Won in donations has been collected annually, enabling the neighboring brackets that are not covered by the government assistance program to be eligible for services. These results have contributed to a high level of satisfaction (82%) with the Hope Care program in a recent phone survey, and the satisfaction level with welfare services offered by Namyangju City in general has also increased from a pre-program level of 38% to 62%.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Hope Care System was born after careful deliberations with the citizens. The Community Welfare Association, a public-private cooperative service provider, proposed the necessity of offering customized services combining welfare and health care to meet the diverse needs of citizens and the city organized the Hope Care project task force, which established a Basic Plan for the Installation and Operation of the Hope Care Centers in October 2006. In November 2006, the mayor of Namyangju stated that, to overcome the unsatisfactory social welfare status of the city, it needed a new welfare system that incorporated the capabilities and experiences of social welfare specialists with the physical welfare resources spread over the city. He also emphasized the importance of organizing and operating the public-private joint “Hope Care Counsel Group” that comprises those working in social welfare facilities, social welfare specialists, medical care specialists and the government official in charge of the related services.

With the Hope Care System originally conceived to be funded by citizen donations rather than through government budget, the growth of the system could potentially mean a decrease in the donations to private social welfare facilities and the concern of encroaching on services provided by existing organizations.

Therefore, the city needed to reconcile the potential conflict of interest between the parties concerned from the time of conception of the system and come up with a way the public and private sectors could cooperate to effectively utilize limited resources. Throughout the process, a Detailed Plan for the Operation of the Hope Care Centers was completed in December 2006, and it served to form a frame of public consensus that is indispensible for maximum use by both the public and private sectors of the city’s limited resources.

To encourage civic participation in the project, an association of volunteer centers was created along with the inauguration of the Hope Care System, and it contributed to the establishment of a framework for the use of the diverse human resources by encouraging citizen financial and talent donations.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
To help improve local administrative practices reliant on the central government’s welfare strategies, minimize the blind spots created by a provider-oriented welfare system, and promptly provide welfare services to the underprivileged, Namyangju became the first local government to transform the traditional provider-oriented welfare service system into a user-oriented, one-stop-service system that combines health care and welfare services.

In consideration of the geographical characteristics and the maximum convenience of its citizens, the entire city was divided into four service regions (North, South, East, and West) that would have regional Hope Care Centers. And Travelling Hope Care Center was installed under the Central Hope Care Center.

Those who contact the officials in charge at the administrative offices will be connected to their respective Hope Care Centers and those visiting the Hope Care Center in their area for services will also be connected to such officials, resulting in a thorough welfare service network. If intensive care is needed as part of any service, the initiative requires a monthly meeting be held so that the specialists from the relevant medical institutions, organizations, child care centers and volunteer groups as well as the government officials and private specialists from the Hope Care Centers can come together and discuss the intensive care for the cases concerned

Upon receiving appeals regarding financial or other difficulties, the Hope Care Center immediately visits the household concerned to investigate living conditions and, when deemed necessary, works to design a customized service package based on the results of the investigation. The center thereafter functions as the base that helps the household conveniently receive the services it needs from the respective providers and continues to manage their case so that the recipients do not have to find services by themselves.

Before the introduction of the system, the city conducted a 60-day on-the-spot survey of the living conditions and service demand of the subject recipients, and investigated the local social welfare resources in 546 spots for a better understanding of the status of the service providers and the feasibility of establishing a comprehensive welfare network. For the second welfare status investigation, the city investigated the implementation status of the eight major residential livelihood assistance services and a total of 1,302 spots including 756 welfare-related facilities and organizations, eventually establishing a database for resource utilization.

To produce a recipient-responsive welfare model that reflects the city’s demographic distributions spread over its relatively vast size, the city organized a public-private joint counsel group to collect the diverse opinions of the citizens. These efforts resulted in a differentiated user-friendly welfare network consisting of City Hall as the main management center, four Hope Care Centers, and one Travelling Hope Care Center.

In order to finance the initiative without the aid of the central government, the city encouraged active participation by for-profit and non-profit entities to promote a large-scale donation campaign that includes the One Person, One Bank Account campaign and online donations.

For the maximum use of professional welfare services and diverse resources, the management of the regional centers was outsourced to a private social welfare foundation.

Through these efforts, the city established a welfare resource utilization and cooperative network in which the resources granted to the underprivileged are provided to the maximum by the physical and talent donations and volunteer services of its citizens while those in need can escape from hardship and not fall lower into poverty.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In 2006, the city created a task force for the Hope Care project and also established a Basic Plan for the Installation and Operation of the Hope Care Centers. On November 30, 2006, the Citizens’ Counsel Group for the Hope Care Centers was organized and, upon the collection of the comments received, a Detailed Operation Plan was completed on December 22, 2006.

In 2007, a survey of the living conditions and service needs of the subject recipients was conducted to prioritize the services by the Hope Care Centers and identify the resources available for the provision of such services. On January 22, 2007, the construction order for the Hope Care Centers was placed, with a plan for the committed operation of the centers established on January 31.

Comments from the Citizens’ Counsel Group and the Community Social Welfare Association were then incorporated in designing a more advanced model that could prevent potential conflicts of interest, and, in April 2007, an ordinance for the operation of the Hope Care Centers was officially enacted.

In 2008, the website for the Centers was launched, providing a gateway for greater civic participation, and the city has since continued to enhance the Centers’ role as a messenger that provides welfare services through the securing of a specialized workforce from local colleges and input from faculty members. A complete enumeration study was also conducted on the resources available in the city for the establishment of a resource-reflected welfare service system. In 2009, the City completed the development of the Hope Care Computer System to systematically manage the recipients of benefits, better utilize its diverse resources and share information with private organizations for the prevention of service overlap.

To promote a culture of donation, the city also developed a Matching Support System that enables citizens to directly support the beneficiaries. The system evolved into an on-line donation system by which citizens can donate more conveniently.

In 2007, the city recruited 200 Hope Managers who provide one-to-one care services to those who are not financially independent. They are special volunteers who have completed commissioned education courses at college and regularly visit the households they are responsible for, providing everyday assistance or connecting them to other types of services. To further activate the culture of donation, the city concluded online donation agreements with 20 schools and also parceled out 4,065 coin banks to raise aid fund. A variety of programs were conducted to promote the culture of donation among citizens including the 100 won Miracle Campaign and live TV donation programs, and the efforts contributed to the establishment of a donation system for securing resources.

In 2011, the Hope Care Centers further expanded the scope of services by introducing the Miso (micro-credit) Financing Center, which offers loans for small businesses to people with low credit ratings, and developed the nation’s first Welfare Display System, which enables visitors to view the benefits and services they are eligible for at a glance.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The system for sharing donations among citizens and a user-oriented social welfare system are the two essential elements of the Hope Care System, but, at the early stage of the initiative, there were some negative views on the effectiveness and sustainability of the system. Some said the expansion of the system could potentially reduce donations to private social welfare facilities, along with concerns that the services provided by the existing organizations could also be infringed upon.

From the program planning stage, however, the city organized a counsel group consisting of social welfare specialists from both public and private sectors and had the diverse stakeholders directly involved in discussions on the launch of the Hope Care System to reflect their comments and mitigate any points of conflict of interest. Institutional support was also provided, including the enactment of operational ordinances for the Hope Care Centers, and citizens also began to actively participate in the initiative, donating about 1 billion won every year. Once the effectiveness of the social welfare services provided through the system began to be recognized across the nation, the concerns expressed at the early stage continued to disappear.

As the Hope Care System was initially funded from part of the local government’s budget without the support of other public funds, the system experienced difficulties in securing labor and financing.

This led to the idea of utilizing private-sector resources. The city introduced a new management system by which the city controls the program but outsources the actual management to private social welfare organizations. In this system, the city supports the labor and operating expenses for the centers only, while the labor and expenses for the overall project are provided by voluntary civic donation and volunteer services. To help promote a culture of donation for the development of the regional welfare services, the city drew a range of campaigns aimed at encouraging the participation of the entire population. Adding to the One Person, One Bank Account campaign, online donation and sponsorship campaigns were also initiated to help finance the program, and these efforts have contributed to the realization of an advanced welfare culture which encourages people to jointly find solutions to the difficulties of their neighbors. The amount of financial donations continued to increase from 419 million won in 2007 to about 1.2 billion won as of December 2011. The donations helped finance aid for low income families who had not been covered by the government budget, resulting in the expansion of services provided and an enhanced welfare net in which people help themselves.

To enhance the participation of volunteers, the city made further efforts in the development of volunteer manpower and the introduction of volunteer incentives. The number of volunteers registered with the volunteer center as of 2011 is about 5,400 persons, and it continues to rise every year.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The financial resources for the Hope Care project are provided by part of the welfare budget of the local government, private resources by for-profit and non-profit organizations, and various donations and sponsorships. The expenses supported by the city government are used to cover the labor cost of the staff the regional centers (44 people including center head, social welfare specialist, and nurses), business expenses and ordinary expenses while other provisions are supported by sponsorships and private financing.

The city government spends about 1.7 billion won out of its budget for the program, while donations received at regional centers come to more than 1 billion won every year. Besides donations, 170,000 cases of volunteer services per year also contribute to overcoming the budgetary limits and the effective use of resources.

The welfare expenses the Hope Care Centers provide to support the living, medical, educational, and housing maintenance expenses as well as other expenses are supported by voluntary sponsorships.

These sponsorships consist of regular sponsorships conducted in the form of the One Person, One Bank Account campaign and temporary sponsorships. Since the beginning of the program, a total of 5.4 billion won has been sponsored. Online fund-raising, in which netizens donate points they have accumulated on the internet, helped raise 120 million won and contributed to the spreading of a culture of donation among the young.

To complete a social welfare system that encourages voluntary civic participation, the city initiated a Sponsors’ Sharing Relay Movement in which 729 restaurants, educational institutes, beauty salons, movie theaters and other businesses active in the city participate. As part of the movement, the participating restaurants provide free meals to single elders once a month, educational institutes grant free tuition to a student from a low income family, and beauty salons give a free beauty treatment to the underprivileged once a month.

As described in the above, the Hope Care System makes use of diverse strategies to help people help themselves.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Immediately after the inauguration of the Hope Care Center on April 2, 2007, the Namyangju City Council enforced an Ordinance on the Operation of the Hope Care Centers to enact the organization and operation of the Hope Care Centers and this allowed the system to secure the sustainability of the organization and operation of the centers. The stable inflow of sponsorships and volunteers also provided the momentum for the program to move forward.

From April 2007, when the Hope Care System was initiated, to December 2011, a total of 5.4 billion won has been received in sponsorships, about 3.4 billion won of which has been used for the program. With at least 1 billion won being continuously collected since 2009, the situation seems to be ripening for the program to expand to new projects based on the stable inflow of funds. Currently, there are about 5,400 volunteers registered with the volunteer center, and the diverse spectrum of the volunteers, from simple manual work to professional musicians capable of conducting an orchestra, is the greatest asset for the stable support of the operation of the Hope Care System.

The Hope Care System is a new type of welfare system that incorporates a culture of civic sharing with the traditional welfare service delivery system, and has become the benchmark for other local governments across the nation.

The Hope Care Centers, established in April 2007, was designated the Exemplary Local Administrative Innovation in November 2007, and has been the benchmark for over 120 local governments and agencies as well as over 200 government officials who made study visits to the centers.

As the results of these benchmark and study efforts, Gwangju City, Dangjin County and Iksan City have decided to introduce new welfare systems similar to the Hope Care System. In January 2009, Gyeonggi Province, which comprises 31 cities and counties including Namyangju, initiated another similar initiative dubbed the “Muhan Dolbom (Unlimited Care) Center” and spread the system to cities and counties within its jurisdiction to operate a public-private joint welfare network consisting of the centers and 87 network teams located in 30 cities and counties.

As for the central government, the Minister of Health and Welfare visited the Hope Care Center in December 2010, and reported to the president that, in consideration of the excellence and the successful spread of the system in Gyeonggi Province, the ministry would organize a Hope Welfare Support Group across the nation beginning in 2012, which will consist of the related government officials and contract personnel and function as a bridge between the public and private welfare service sectors.

Internationally, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation of Germany visited Namyangju on September 29, 2009 to gather information on the details of the Hope Care program and praised the universal scope of coverage and efficient organization of the system.

In 2011, the government officials from Liaoning and Guangdong provinces of China, the two sister provinces of Gyeonggi, attended an exchange study program held in the Gyeonggi Human Resources Development Institute, in which a visit to the Hope Care Centers was included.

The Hope Care System has also been continuously recognized for its excellence and has received a good number of prestigious awards and designations including: the 2007 Exemplary Local Administrative Innovation Case, the gold prize in the Gyeongin Hit Product Award, the merit prize in the 8th National Public Innovation Award (in the category of residential livelihood support), certificate of the 2008 Excellent Innovation in the Local Administration, the Health Minister’s award in the 2009 Exemplary New Project Management Award, and the grand prize in the 2011 Exemplary Manifesto Competitions of the Lower Level Local Governments (in the category of the implementation of campaign pledges).

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
First, cooperation between the public and private sectors is very important for the success of a new initiative, and this success also becomes the engine for the advancement of public-private cooperation.

The Hope Care System is a model of such cooperation, which evolved from an idea born in the private sector and was systematically developed to incorporate both sectors. From the early stage of the development process, the Hope Care Counsel Committee and the Community Welfare Association were involved as part of such cooperation. The process of designing a new system together provided an arena of learning for both sectors, and as the Hope Care System grew to be successfully established and recognized outwardly, it began to make both sectors feel proud of this cooperation, which contributed to the enhancement of the framework of mutual aid. Namyangju City shows a model case of cooperation between the public and private sectors as the representatives from both sectors work together to establish long-term social welfare plans for the community and continue to make efforts to accomplish their common goal. While the Hope Care System was created and is being managed through mutual cooperation, such cooperation itself evolved throughout the process of successfully establishing and operating the Hope Care System.

Second, the case made the maximum use of existing conditions of limited social welfare infrastructures in the city to establish a low-cost high-efficiency system. The operation of the regional Hope Care Centers is committed to the private sector, but the city government ensures they are operated in a differentiated, responsible manner so that no recipient is denied services due to distance, administrative burden or any other reason and that all areas of the city could be covered by the single system of the Hope Care System. The centralized system led to the removal or reduction of overlapping or missed services and a more efficient welfare system, and the commissioning of the operation of the Hope Care Centers to different social welfare organizations resulted in enhanced competition, which contributed to the success of the system.

Third, the city enhanced the efficiency of the program through the promotion of a culture of sharing including sponsorships and volunteer services, and a sound, everyday culture of sharing was naturally created among citizens. In order to minimize an increase in welfare budget spending and realize efficient system operation, the Hope Care System was originally conceived as a project that makes the maximum use of sponsorships and volunteers, and as the system continued to progress, it began to see the gradual spreading of the new cultural trend of sharing among people, naturally leading to more sponsorships and volunteers. For example, service stations and restaurants would sponsor a certain amount of their sales, the owner of a restaurant would sponsor all of his sales on his birthday, and netizens would donate points they acquired online. Instead of cash donations, some well-known entertainers have also donated their performance talent to regularly perform free of charge for the underprivileged. There have also been a number of registered nurses who have attended single elderly members of the community.

As shown in the above, the Hope Care System could be a good model for situations where the existing welfare system and infrastructures are in poor condition and the budget available for social welfare is very limited.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Hope Care Center
Institution Type:   Public-Private Partnership  
Contact Person:   Yang Hyouk Jin
Title:   assistant officer  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-31-590-8853/82-31-590-8679
Institution's / Project's Website:   http://hope.nyj.go.kr/
E-mail:   hk0512@korea.kr  
Address:   1037 gyeongchun-ro
Postal Code:   472-701
City:   Namyangju
State/Province:   Gyeonggi

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