Socio-political activist Gilbert Goh is organising a new initiative aimed at creating awareness and showing support for homeless Singaporeans. The initiative was announced days after a study by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy showed that there are one thousand homeless people in Singapore.
Some 47 per cent of homeless people who were interviewed for the study cited unemployment, irregular work and low wages as the cause behind why they are homeless while other pointed to family relationship problems and inadequate or inaccessible housing services as the factors that led to them becoming homeless.
Mr Goh – who runs a support site for unemployed and underemployed Singaporeans – has organised several initiatives like to help the homeless in the past and has helped provide food, blankets and essentials to needy folks who are left homeless. His latest initiative invites Singaporeans to sleep out in the open like the homeless for one night.
The event, which is set to take place somewhere in the Bugis or Lavender area from 11pm on 14 December to 6am on 15 December, is primarily organised to show solidarity with the homeless. While Mr Goh calls the initiative a “social experiment,” he added: “Of course, if we can raise some funds on that night it will be great!”
Mr Goh said that the initiative was inspired by his experiences in Sydney, Australia, where he saw company heads camp out with the homeless each year to raise funds for NGOs helping the homeless:
“In Sydney where I lived for several years, CEOs from across the country will gather on a cold winter night every year and camp out together with the homeless to raise funds for the NGOs working with them.”
The organisers will provide a blanket, sleeping bag, cardboard and a bottled water so that participants can sleep better. Asking interested individuals to contact him, Mr Goh said: “Many of us have wonderful homes and a comfortable bed to sleep in but 1000 Singaporeans have to sleep out in the rough daily for weeks, months and sometimes years.
“Do sacrifice one night for the homeless so you can experience what it is like…and feel more for these unfortunate ones.”