Singapore – Two Catholic churches in Singapore have opened their doors to the homeless to provide shelter and a comfortable place to sleep at night.
Through the initiative of a local organisation, the Catholic Welfare Services (CWS), the Church of St Mary of the Angels and Church of Christ the King, located at Bukit Batok and Ang Mo Kio respectively, are providing shelter to those in need.
According to The Straits Times (ST), the homeless referred by CWS could sleep in these church classrooms from 9pm to 7am the following day and are provided mattresses, pillows, and fans to make their rest more comfortable.
The charity first approached Church of Christ the King in January 2018 when temperatures fell to 21 degrees. So far, about 25 people have sought shelter in the church.
Among their other programmes, CWS also holds a Night Mission, where they “walk the streets” and hand out food to the homeless every Friday from May 30, 2014. The volunteers get to talk and learn of everyone’s stories, as well as to offer assistance.
CWS also holds a Food Relief Programme which started in 1959 and provides supplementary food such as rice and cooking oil to the poor and destitute.
They also give supermarket vouchers every three months and cash grants twice a year to the beneficiaries of the programme which include Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, Homes for the Aged, Children’s Homes, Crisis Centres and Societies.
Back in their headquarters located at Waterloo Street, they keep a stock of dry food items at all times for those who approach them for assistance.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), an average of 290 individuals ask for assistance from government-funded facilities every year.
The individuals were either homeless, found sleeping in public places or destitute, reported ST.
“The MSF is working with some religious groups that have expressed interest to open up their premises to the homeless after they have completed ongoing or upcoming renovation works at their premises,” said the organisation in response to ST.
“We are also partnering community groups active in befriending and engaging persons who sleep in public places, to strengthen our outreach so that we can better coordinate support for them, understand their circumstances and work with community partners to resolve the issues.”