How to help the many homeless people everywhere? – Open letter to SM Maliki Osman

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Photo: Facebook

After having documented a number of homeless and elderly people at night, struggling to make ends meet, one Singaporean wrote an open letter to the Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman.

In his letter, the netizen who wished to be anonymous but only went by an alias, said, “I therefore suggest our 105 Community Centres Multipurpose Hall could be repurposed to become shelter for our homeless citizens between 11pm and 7am.”

Attention: Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki OsmanTHE DARK SIDE OF PROGRESS Sometimes, a string of redtapes, dubious choices and brushes with bad luck may contribute to one's inadvertent deepening into poverty. In the light of the above-mentioned, impediments in areas ranging from our housing to healthcare support services need to be urgently looked into. While our homeless citizens have various reasons for sleeping out in public or in 24-hour restaurants, about many say they can’t afford rents. Others slept in public places, including parks, playgrounds, car parks, and the spaces underneath bridges. As depicted in the video, plastic bags, styrofoam boxes and plastic crates lie on the grimy floor of Zion Road Hawker Centre. The air is ripe with the tang of food scraps rotting in our hot and humid climate. Having spoken to them, they quietly gave a host of reasons why they are homeless. They included wanting to avoid conflict with families, the need to be closer to work, and seeking temporary shelter while waiting for a rental flat. Factors beyond one's control play an imminent role in how the lives of our poor tragically pan out. These may inter alia include medical issues like chronic illness that plague many of our pioneer generation, bitter divorces, etc. I therefore suggest our 105 Community Centres Multipurpose Hall could be repurposed to become shelter for our homeless citizens between 11pm and 7am. Thank you.

Posted by Cinorom Elicebmi Inc on Monday, 13 August 2018

His reasoning for this suggestion was that, “Sometimes, a string of redtapes, dubious choices and brushes with bad luck may contribute to one’s inadvertent deepening into poverty”.

After having spoken to these homeless people, he added that they had many reasons for being so; unable to afford rent, trouble with families, wanting to be closer to work or even seeking shelter while waiting for a rental flat.

He added, “Factors beyond one’s control play an imminent role in how the lives of our poor tragically pan out. These may inter alia include medical issues like chronic illness that plague many of our pioneer generation, bitter divorces, etc.”

He continued saying, “In the light of the above-mentioned, impediments in areas ranging from our housing to healthcare support services need to be urgently looked into.”

While Dr Osman has yet to reply to his suggestion, many other Singaporeans felt that aid should be given, however, they also expressed that by sharing the video the authorities would just get rid of the homeless people instead of helping them.

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obbana@theindependent.sg