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Ferdinand Hanusch, the architect of the Austrian social welfare system.

After the proclamation of the First Republic the provisional national assembly installed its own government on 30 October 1918 with Ferdinand Hanusch as State Secretary for Social Affairs (which in those days was the equivalent of ministerial status). In the following two years, up until his resignation at the end of October 1920, Hanusch intro­duced the most important bundle of social measures in Austrian history.

Julius Tandler's social welfare policy.

In 1919 Julius Tandler was elected to the Vienna City Council. On 9 May 1919 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State and head of the Public Health Office. In November 1920 he moved to the Public Health Department of the City of Vienna where during the following years, as Executive City Councillor for Welfare and Health Affairs, he fought with great commit­ment against the war-caused shortages in the health sector, from which the children suffered especially seriously, as well as for the ex­tension of wel­fare services. What resulted was the “Vienna Welfare System”.

The “Allgemeine Sozial­versicherungsgesetz” (General Social Insurance Act)

An essential alteration to the whole social welfare system was occasioned by the Allgemeine Sozial­versicherungs­gesetz (ASVG) of 1955. Much of what the municipality and other bodies distributed was trans­formed from a form of aid to a legal entitlement. The new situation called for professional work by full-time employees. On 19 November 1969 the muni­cipal council ended the activities of the wel­fare councillors. A new era began.

Old people´s homes became "Living Homes"

Thanks to the welfare services the elderly were able to stay on living longer at home. The houses were there­fore extended to include care wards, and the former old people’s homes made into nursing homes.

Setting the direction for the 21st century

Thanks to the Vienna Social Welfare Fund (FSW) the direction has been set for a social welfare system in Vienna that is able to meet the needs of the 21st century.

The aims, among others, are: to improve the health, and health awareness, of the population; to provide the basic requirements for living and working for under­privileged individuals; to provide medical, psychological and wel­fare advice and treat­ment as well as care for those needing assistance; to take pre­ventive measures to avert and hinder or reduce the degree of poverty; the promote the reha­bilitation and social inte­gration of these target groups.

Over 20,000 people work for the Fonds Soziales Wien (FSW) in over 150 partner organisations. The FSW ensures the efficient use of funding in the health and social affairs sector. An annual € 630 million of tax money from the City of Vienna make sure that Vienna will continue to be able to offer high-quality social services in the future, too.