According to a street survey conducted by a group of social workers and volunteers in March 2017, they found that there were 180 persons sleeping on the streets on one night across 25 sites. While this is the minority of the population, it is unthinkable that Singapore is one of the most affluent countries in the world with a high rate of homeownership and accessibility to public housing for most Singaporeans, still has homeless people. So, who are the homeless and destitute? Where do they live? What could have caused them to be in such a circumstance?
- Most of the homeless surveyed were single, widowed or divorced men.
- Some have limited social support.
- No more than 20% of them seek out social services for help.
- They are out in the streets because of family conflict, economic disadvantage and lack of housing options.
- 60% of those surveyed were working mostly full-time with the rest in part-time or casual employment. However, these jobs were mostly low-paying and irregular jobs, making them financially insecure.
- They slept at public benches, pieces of cardboard on the ground, public walkways and 24-hour fast food restaurants near their workplace.
Here are a few hurdles the homeless have to jump over to get off the street:
- Temporary shelters give priority to families with children or elderly parents, and they are often operating at full capacity.
- While public rental housing from the Housing and Development Board is made accessible by needing just two unrelated individuals to share a one-room flat, there is always friction between two strangers co-residing in a small space, discomfort due to poor ventilation, hygiene or noise from neighbours.
- When the homeless person checks himself into a welfare home voluntarily, they may not legally leave without permission. This risk of losing their freedom causes them much anxiety.
What then we do to help them?
Check out Homeless Hearts of Singapore
They are a group of young people who organizes fortnightly outreach to reach out to the homeless in Singapore.
Do you have a heart for the homeless in Singapore?
Homeless, But I’m not a Bum