Discussion: The Multiple Faces of The Homeless in Singapore

Derelict – a person without a home, job, or property.

Destitute – extremely poor, without the means to provide for oneself.

These two words come to mind when one thinks about the homeless sleeping on the streets. A few weeks ago, TODAY ran a news report about the homeless in Singapore and the revelations defied conventional perceptions about them. For example, a large fraction of the 180 interviewed were gainfully employed. More than a quarter owned flats. That is far from the definition of a derelict or a destitute.
Before one breaks out the champagne, and conclude that the homeless situation is not as big a problem as it seems; one needs to understand that although some made conscious choices to be homeless, the circumstances that led them to such choices are often unhappy ones.

The most common reason for people to have no roof over their heads is income level. A cleaner with a monthly salary of $1,200 can hardly make ends meet even without having to pay for room rental, which on average can be $600 to $700 a month. In this regard, the government has done its part by coming up with the Public Rental Scheme where small flats can be rented from as low as $26 a month, depending on household income. The condition of having to apply with another family member or single Singaporean citizen made many homeless who are used to a reclusive lifestyle, or already abandoned by friends and family; difficult to partake in the scheme.

Alternative solutions might include halfway houses or three-quarter houses, but these might only appeal to the religiously inclined.

Read The Full Article Here: 
Singapore's homeless struggle to find support

Questions to Consider:

Q1. In your day-to-day activities, can you recognise a homeless person when he crosses your path? Does a homeless person look ‘homeless’? What is your opinion?

Q2. Do the homeless know the options and help that are available to them? Do you think the government is doing enough to ameliorate their situation?

Q3. What do you think we as citizens can do to help?

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