News

HELP FOR THE HOMELESS

Typically, a homeless person in Singapore is a former flat owner, has low income and weak social support, or has fallen out with family members or friends they have been living with.

Between 2011 and 2013, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has provided support and shelter to 565 individuals and 404 families.

An MSF spokesman said that government agencies help by, among other things, assisting them in buying a flat within their means or helping them reunite with family members.

For those with no options, the Housing Board provides rental flats under the Public Rental Scheme.

The spokesman added: "For those who need temporary rental accommodation while they wait for or work out their longer-term housing option, HDB may refer them to interim rental housing."

There are also transitional shelters for those in crisis.

The MSF spokesman said: "The shelters work with relevant agencies to help these families regain stability and independence.

"Efforts are taken to ensure the children continue to attend school and that the safety, welfare and interests of vulnerable family members are taken care of."

YOUNGER

New Hope Community Services senior case manager Jamie Soo, 34, said that a few years ago, she saw couples in their 40s to 50s with children, but now, the couples are much younger.

She said: "Since last year, there have been more young couples with children, such as boyfriends and girlfriends with babies."

The stay at the shelter is not free. Adults pay $50 a month and $25 for a child. Families pay a maximum of $100 monthly regardless of the number of members.

Ms Soo said: "We want to impart (the message) that nothing is free. They need to have the habit of paying, so that when they have their own rental flat, they will continue to pay. Eventually, they can continue it as part of their lifestyle."

MSF also said that some families are unwilling to work with government officials or social workers.

Said the MSF spokesman: "A number do not accept alternative accommodation. They are also unwilling to cooperate and work on their social and domestic issues, or make changes to their lifestyles. Some insist on getting special consideration for housing of their choice."

If you know of anyone who needs help, call the ComCare hotline: 1800-222 0000