8 April 2017
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in 2016 (a) what is the most common reason for rejecting an application to provide shelter to homeless people; and (b) what is the waiting time for placement at a shelter.
MSF works closely with government and community agencies, such as HDB and social service agencies to assist homeless families and individuals in need. Some of them may seek help from Family Service Centres to identify temporary housing options and address their other needs. Those who have exhausted all means of accommodation and are in need of immediate shelter would be admitted into Transitional Shelters. Caseworkers at the shelters and social workers at the Family Service Centres will work with these families to improve their family situation, coordinate relevant assistance, and secure long-term housing options.
In some cases, persons seeking admission into Transitional Shelters have alternative accommodation options with family and friends and are therefore not admitted to the shelter. There are also individuals who are not suitable to be admitted into Transitional Shelters due to their physical or mental health conditions. The social service agencies will refer them to the appropriate care facilities.
The waiting time for admission to the transitional shelters is typically about 3 days to a week. The time needed depends on factors such as whether the social worker is able to contact the client to undertake the assessment. For needy persons who need immediate shelter, the shelter operators will facilitate same-day admissions as far as possible. When same-day admission is not possible, such as during weekends and after office hours, the social worker will work with the person to source for interim accommodation, such as staying with relatives or friends. The women and children of families who cannot find interim accommodation can be admitted temporarily to the crisis shelters.
The public and community can play a role by approaching persons in need to understand their circumstances and offer help. They can also call the ComCare hotline or approach the nearest Social Service Office or Family Service Centre for assistance. MSF and our partners in the community will continue to render assistance where needed.