Homelessness In Singapore: Here Are The Major Developments Put In Place To Help Them
Homelessness in Singapore is a rather difficult concept to grasp. For most of us, the garden city entails clean, sparkling streets, where sights of beggars are few and rare.
We don’t give pay much attention to the homeless in Singapore, much less talk about it. Yet, in reality, the homeless situation is worse than we think, especially when there are about 1,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets of Singapore.
According to a nationwide study, 500 volunteer fieldworkers covered 12,000 blocks of flats and other public and commercial spaces over three months, to count the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets.
47% of the homeless people interviewed cited unemployment, irregular hours or low pay as the main reasons for sleeping rough on the streets. The other main reasons were due to strained family relations, and a lack of access to housing services.
To provide an additional resource for the homeless in Singapore, we’ve come up with a list of places that displaced persons can go to, and the help they can get to tide them through this difficult period.
How Much Does It Cost TO Rent A One-Room In Singapore?
Those seeking a night’s rest may be unwilling to move to transitional shelters, due to difficulties in communal living. For those seeking subsidized rentals for one-room flats, here’s a quick overview of the rates:
|Household Income||First Timer||Second Timer||Locations For One Room HDBs (Zones)|
|$0 to $800/month||$26 to $33/month||$90 to $123/month||Ang Mo Kio,
Bukit Merah, Jurong, Woodlands
|$801 to $1,500/month||$90 to $123/month||$150 to $205/month|
You are a first-time applicant if you have never ever bought an HDB flat (including resale flats bought using your CPF) and never received any other form of housing subsidy, such as SERS benefits.
Otherwise, you’re considered a second-time applicant. If any of your listed co-applicants (“occupiers”) have ever bought an HDB flat before, the second-timer rate will apply.
To qualify for the subsidised rental housing rates, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Household income must not exceed $1,500/mth. Below $800, you will get a more subsidised rate.
- You cannot own any other property
- Past property ownership will affect the eligibility of your subsidies.
- Availability of family support: HDB will check to ensure that family members truly cannot support you (or help pay rent), before releasing the rental flat to you.
If you meet the many requirements for rental, you may proceed by applying for a flat either online or in person at the Rental Housing counter (level 3) of HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.
You can contact HDB at 1800-225-5432 or email [email protected] to enquire on your case before making the application.
Major Developments For Homeless Individuals And Families: Where You Can Go.
1. Transitional Shelters and Welfare Homes For The Homeless
There are currently three transitional shelters and about 10 welfare homes in Singapore.
Transitional shelters offer displaced persons a place to stay for a period of time (~6 months) as social workers work to find them jobs and long-term housing options, while welfare homes house the destitute who have no family support and are unable to live independently in the community.
Here is a list of welfare and transition homes for consideration:
|Shelter||Type||Organisation||Description||What It Provides||How To Apply|
|Shelter For Displaced Family and Individuals||Transitional Shelter||Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)||Case manager will be assigned to displaced person and/or family, to explore and facilitate long-term/permanent housing.||Life-skill training, basic counseling, mediation sessions (only when necessary), job placement assistance, and monthly food ration to the clients. Finding job palcement opportunities||Fill in this form and send it to [email protected]|
|AWWA Transitional Shelter||Transitional Shelter||AWWA||Aims to provide temporary accommodation to displaced families who have exhausted all other means of accommodation.||Casework and Counselling, Group work and budget, debt management programmes, and post-discharge support.||Blk 107 Towner Road, #01-356 Singapore 321107
+65 6511 7272
|Transition Plus, AMKFSC||Transitional Shelter||MSF||From 2018, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has appointed Transition Plus @ Jalan Bukit Merah (TPJBM) as a Transition Shelter to render temporary shelter services for families with children, who have exhausted all means of accommodation.||Casework and counselling, group work and programmes to enable the families to be self-reliant and prepare them for their leave from the shelter.||For referrals, visit their website, download the following forms and email them to [email protected]:|
|Bukit Batok Home for the Aged (BBHA)||11 Bukit Batok West Avenue 2 |
|Acacia Home||30 Admiralty St, Singapore 759958||6254 6575|
|Angsana Home at Pelangi Village||14 Buangkok Green|
|Banyan Home at Pelangi Village||12 Buangkok Green|
|Jenaris Home at Pelangi Village||10 Buangkok Green|
|Meranti Home at Pelangi Village|| 6 Buangkok Green|
|Thuja Home at Pelangi Village||4 Buangkok Green|
|Tembusu Home at Pelangi Village||2 Buangkok Green|
|Jamiyah Home for the Aged||1 Tampines Avenue 3|
|Moral Welfare Home||301 Henderson Road|
2. Other Alternatives: Churches, Mosques, and Temples To Open Doors For Those Who Seek Refuge
Here’s a list of churches, mosques, and temples who allow the homeless to stay for the night. Homeless individuals can come to the premises to sleep in during the night. Do note that you are required to leave in the morning, where the premises will be opened for service and prayers.
|Church, Temple or Mosque providing a place for the homeless||Location / Area||Are they opened?|
|Sultan Mosque||Muscat Street||Open by fourth quarter this year.|
|Yio Chu Kang Chapel||Yio Chu Kang||Open by fourth quarter this year.|
|The Church of Christ the King||Ang Mo Kio||Opened last year|
|Church of St Mary of the Angels||Bukit Batok||Opened in April this year|
|Buddha Tooth Relic Temple||Chinatown|| Opened in June.
Homeless people can turn up by 10.30pm to sleep and leave by 6am as the temple is open to the public from 7am.
|Prinsep Street Presbyterian Churc||Prinsep Street||Opened in September|
|Toa Payoh Methodist Church||Toa Payoh||Opened in September|
Other Upcoming Developments For The Homeless
According to The Straits Times, the MSF last Friday (Nov 8) said it is looking to build another interim shelter for those sleeping on the streets. That aside, government bodies are looking towards working with various community groups that befriend these displaced sleepers via the Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (Peers) Network.
How You Can Help The Homeless In Singapore
1. Volunteer At Organisations That Help The Homeless
You can join Facebook community groups such as Happy People Helping People Community, or It’s Raining Raincoats (for Migrant Workers), where you can find ad-hoc volunteer opportunities for you to participate in. These community groups are more general, and not focused on helping just homeless persons per se. However, there are related initiatives that you can participate in, to help alleviate poverty in Singapore.
Alternatively, you can sign up and volunteer at these communities:
2. ComCare Long-Term Assistance
Ming Feng wrote in his article on Cardboard Collectors that the needy will be able to receive monthly long-term assistance. Here’s a quick overview on how much you will get under the scheme:
|Additional children's Assistance||$150 additional per child|
To qualify for ComCare, one is:
- unable to work due to old age, illness or disability
- have no means of stable income and little or no family support
- an elderly person who receives only a small monthly payout from other sources such as CPF Retirement Sum/ CPF Life, Pension, ElderShield, Lease Buyback Scheme, and the monthly payout is lower than the prevailing LTA rates
- an elderly whose children are low income themselves. The children must be supporting their own families and each has household income of $1,900 and below, or per capita household income of $650 and below
- a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident
If you know of someone who might be able to use this help, link them up with a social service worker or office.
Homelessness In Singapore
Homelessness in Singapore is a vexing, multi-faceted issue that can’t be simply solved by providing them with a roof over their heads. While providing shelter for the needy may be the first step to take, there are other powerful, intangible ways where you can help them.
The next time you see someone sleeping rough, perhaps lend them a bit of your time to hear and understand their problems. Every homeless individual is different, and there is no cookie-cutter approach to help solve this societal problem.