While Singaporeans were vaguely aware that the country had a homelessness problem, many were still shocked to discover that 1,000 residents were found sleeping rough in a study last year.
The nationwide study, conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy, found that there were between 921 and 1,050 homeless people on the streets of Singapore.
The main reasons for homelessness were economic, family, housing-related and health problems.
Just as it has exacerbated other existing social and economic issues, the Covid-19 pandemic has only made homelessness in Singapore worse.
Now, homeless shelters are bursting at the seams.
Homeless Shelters in S’pore Are Almost Full & There Are 100 People on Waiting List
The 21 temporary shelters set up for the homeless in Singapore are almost full, leaving 100 people without homes on the waiting list.
These shelters, called Safe Sound Sleeping Places (S3Ps), are run by community and religious groups.
They provide temporary shelter to those without a home out of goodwill.
According to The Straits Times, the lack of sufficient shelter space can be attributed to an increased demand and reduced number of S3Ps, both of which have been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Areas where homeless people used to sleep, such as void decks and commercial buildings, became closed to the public during the circuit breaker.
This is much worse than it sounds, because homeless people not only lost their sleeping areas, they didn’t even have a place to sit or rest.
In addition, those who lost their jobs or could no longer afford to pay rent may have been forced to sleep on the streets.
Both factors led to an increase in demand, which, unfortunately, coincided with the closure of around 20 S3Ps.
Before the circuit breaker, there were just 7 S3Ps.
This number grew to 40 during the circuit-breaker, which may have been adequate to meet the current demand.
Sadly, this number dropped to 20 in a matter of months, as 20 S3Ps closed to resume their primary operations, among other reasons.
21 Shelters With Space For Only 560 Individuals
At the moment, there are 21 S3Ps in operation, able to accommodate around 560 individuals.
The 100 people on the waiting list are hoping to fill the few vacancies left, but are pending admission, among other things.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said that the ministry is working with community partners to increase the number of shelter spaces for the homeless.
Government agencies, religious groups, and charities are all working together to help the homeless.
And some of these shelters go the extra mile for their temporary residents.
Food Vouchers, WiFi, & Laundry Facilities
The Kassim Mosque and the Assyakirin Mosque, as well as Yio Chu Kang Chapel, provided their new residents with more than just a place to spend the night.
Individuals at the two mosques were provided with daily food vouchers, basic washing and laundry facilities, and access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
Similarly, the 15 individuals sleeping in the sheltered carpark of Yio Chu Kang Chapel were given access to Wi-Fi, television, washing machines, and toilets.
Let’s hope that those who desperately need accommodation will find it soon. Everyone deserves a roof over their head.
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