A study by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy found that there are one thousand homeless people in Singapore.
Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe from the university, along with a team of close to 500 volunteer fieldworkers who covered all 12,000 blocks of residential flats and other public and commercial spaces over a period of three months, found and recorded the numbers of individuals who were asleep or going to sleep in public spaces.
The highest counts of homeless persons were reported in the City, Bedok and Kallang districts, the study found. There were more than 50 persons per district.
However, in districts such as Bukit Panjang, Sembawang and Sengkang, there were fewer than 10 persons per district.
Dr Ng said, “Despite growing public attention in recent years, the size of the homeless population in Singapore has always been unknown. Measuring homelessness in a systematic and transparent way enables us to provide guidance for policy and service planning”.
47 per cent of homeless people interviewed cited unemployment, irregular work and low wages as reasons for homelessness. Other main reasons for homelessness include family relationship problems and inadequate or inaccessible housing services.
Following the release of the study, activist Gilbert Goh organized a food drive to distribute blankets and other essential items to the homeless.
On a social media post, he wrote, “Many are hidden from the public eye as they try to sleep out in the rough open. According to the report, half hold jobs but they could not afford to own a place.
“Join us next Saturday on November 16 at 10.30 PM to distribute blanket, goody bags and food pack to the homeless folks along Kallang, Bugis and Arab St.
“We may not be able to get them a home but at least we can show them some love. No one should be left behind”, he added.
Earlier this year, the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party Dr Chee Soon Juan shared a video showing the vast number of homeless people in Singapore and called out Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for once stating that no one Singaporean should be left behind.
For sampling, he showed the homeless people in Singapore who resorted to sleeping in McDonald’s outlets.
Dr Chee also referred to a speech PM Lee made last year, where he said that as Singapore progresses, it needs to also ensure the country’s poor are not disadvantaged or left behind. /TISG