Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homes For The Homeless

The failed businessman who turned cab driver panned without a hint of the jocular. When the day comes he can't pay his bills, he will lie down on the sidewalk, to be swept up like discarded litter, and deposited into welfare homes by social workers. Not exactly a palatable kind of retirement plan. There lies the answer to the boast, " You go down New York, Broadway. You will see the beggars, people of the streets... Where are the beggars in Singapore? Show me."

The number of homeless picked up by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports reached an all time high last year.

Number of Homeless Picked Up
201033915(50 members)
200921717(82 members)

Of the 271 men and 68 women who made the 2010 list of homeless individuals, 169 were aged 41-59, 130 were 60 years and older.

The MCYS has appointed three shelters to house the human flotsam and jetsam, WAHAH Transitional Shelter, New Hope Community Services and Lakeside Family Centre. Just Parenting Association (JPA) commenced operations of WAHAH Transitional Shelter in June 2010 for families that have been rendered homeless - by social issues like divorce, addiction (alcohol, drugs and gambling), and what the MCYS curiously termed "unwillingness to hold on to a job". WAHAH (meaning ‘oasis’ in Arabic), which caters for displaced families who have young children or elderly members, has 45 families staying at their facilities, with 3 or 4 families crammed into each flat. Due to the lack of available space allocated by the government for housing this segment of the population, 27 families remain on their waiting list. The "lucky" residents are allowed to stay only for a period of between 3 to 6 months, after that, they are on their own. Probably tossed back into the sidewalk to be recycled, like trash.

It looks like MCYS has a lot to do. It also looks like the former minister in charge had his priorities misplaced somewhere, providing lush accommodation for foreign athletes while denying a basic roof for Singapore's destitute.

Don't expect much from the Acting Minister who told reporters after delivering his "Socrates-style" crap, "I did not want to give them my solutions, but work through solutions with them." Translation: "Kee Chiu", come up with something, I'm dying to take credit for it.


  1. Haha..
    soldier boy getting more popular each day.
    Btw, some army barracks seem perfect for housing the homeless. The Army Politician may like to give it some consideration for such purpose.

  2. I am alarmed by the increase within 1 year. And most of all, these are pple in their prime age of 41-59 being the core age. There's always an unspoken suspicions that the people in these age are the most vulnerable (across segment , including PMET) that were easily displaced by the cheaper FT (obviously since our Govt don't cap companies for quota). Why are there such a big jump?! Is a laughable state of affairs that we house cheap FWs but we could house our own people. Maybe aljazeera tv station should come and do another documentary show to shame our heartless govt! How many more fell into the cracks without being noticed/helped?

  3. That socrates-my-ass chap should remember from whence he came from. Do something do and go knock on his colleagues GLC doors, and ask if any would create jobs for these people!!! =that's one damn good solution for him to take credit here!! And stop going around to lecture other people when he can't even keep his own backside clean..

  4. MCYS is the Ministry for the poor, young and helpless in Singapore.

    It's incredible that this Ministry can somehow overspend budget by $300 million on kiddie games.

    And now even got time to engage in Socratic dialogue.

    This NATO acting mini-star should take a look at how a real leader takes charge of a troubled Ministry by looking at Khaw Boon Wan.

    I don't agree with Mr Khaw on everything. But have to say at least he did not waste time in philosophical discourse about public housing.

    How HE would run MND if given the chance:
    To rent or to buy?
    That is the question.
    Is it the govt.'s job or is it the citizen's job to house the population?
    That is another question.

    May God help the poor, young and helpless in Singapore.

  5. Typical mindset of MIWs who made it through the poverty trap is actually to look down on those who did not made it. If everyone is so capable, then most will be cabinet minsiters lecturing the peasants. The money spent on the YOG could have helped a lot of S'poreans instead of deceiving ourselves as making it on the world stage.

  6. Why are there even a wait list for this group to begin with?!
    Only 3-6mths and many families squeeze into one flat?
    If i were homeless rather stay in my tent on east coast beach man.
    But honestly, if they can fire 390 FWs from their jobs, pay minimal or decent salary where these SGreans can feed themselves/family, I don't see why they won't take to the solutions. Maybe there're habitual people who just refused to help themselves, but at least help the children so they don't become these sad statistics.

  7. @There lies the answer to the boast, " You go down New York, Broadway. You will see the beggars, people of the streets... Where are the beggars in Singapore? Show me."
    This is a real spin. Some of these people picked up by MCYS are send to Pelangi Village. Pelangi Village is run by ex-Army officer. This place is run like a pseudo-prison where once you are in, you are not allowed out in the streets unless you hold a job or claimed by a family member. So, in Singapore the homeless are treated like prisoners. I guess then it is not such an eye-sore for the clean and green state where one cannot see homeless people and beggars on the streets like in NY.

  8. "I did not want to give them my solutions, but work through solutions with them."

    If you are not going to give them any (of your solutions) in the first place, does it mean you have none to begin with ?

    What a dumb ass, this Kee Chiu!

  9. pelagi village!?!! serious? sounds like a cove for the captured animals..wow, more like an eye opener here. can we send a documentary team in there for sneak peak? how large is the number?

  10. SN

    Would you prefer that the homeless live on the streets and bumming around asking for handouts.
    This is imminently more preferable as at least in the homes, they have adequate care although spartan in nature.


  11. Ajohor,
    other than rounding them up, do you think the PAP leadership could have done better ?

    the most useless bum is actually the one living in the Istana for the past 12 years collecting millions from tax payers.
    he could have set aside 90% of his $4M salary as a gift to homes while using his position to chide Vivian B for overspending on YOG.

    by the way Ajohor, any idea what $58B can buy in SinCity ?

  12. No objection to spartan care and rounding them up. But to hide them away or limit their freedom is unacceptable. They are not lepers what's the shame here? Instead, are we doing more to help them get back on own? What are the % who are repeat offenders? What are the success rates in getting these people concrete help? Can the authority care to shed more lights?