Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap
MP for Aljunied GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
a) how many homeless cases have been identified by the Ministry every year between 2005 and 2015;
b) whether there have been studies conducted to devise solutions to mitigate this issue; and
c) what is the Ministry's strategy and approach in tackling this problem.
Answer by Parliamentary Secretary Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (for the Minister for Social and Family Development)
Madam, from 2005 to 2015, MSF provided assistance and support to an average of 300 cases each year. Some of these families and individuals were able to return to their own homes or families. They may be provided with financial or other forms of assistance. For those who were destitute and lacking in family support and means to fend for themselves, MSF would typically extend housing support through the Welfare Homes and Transitional Shelters which we fund.
In 2014, MSF conducted a study on families in transitional housing to better understand the challenges and needs of homeless families. The study found that these families often experienced occurrences such as divorce and financial difficulties. Many had sold their flats and spent their monies to clear debts or for other purposes prior to becoming homeless.
To help them regain housing stability, it is important for us to help them address their underlying issues, such as providing employment assistance and counselling to address marital and family issues. Linking the families with services such as child care and healthcare can also strengthen their ability to cope, and improve their employment and financial prospects. Social workers will also work with them to identify long-term housing options that they can work towards.
Homelessness is a complex issue and there are often no straightforward or quick solutions. MSF is committed to working with MND, HDB and community organisations to identify and provide support to homeless families and individuals.