Ms Anthea Ong
Nominated Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the total number of shelters in Singapore in 2016, 2017 and 2018; (b) how many residents in total are in transit within these shelters in 2016, 2017 and 2018; (c) how many of these are displaced families; (d) how many are foreigners; (e) what are the reasons cited for their displacement; and (f) how many displaced does the Ministry estimate to be on the streets in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
1. MSF works closely with government and community agencies, such as HDB and social service agencies to assist homeless families and individuals in need. Some had sold their flats due to debt or divorce, before becoming homeless. Others may have homes, but are unable to return to them for various reasons, such as conflict with their family members or co-tenants. There are also individuals who are unable to work, and have no means of support.
2. Families and individuals who have homes but who are not able to return to them are referred to MSF-funded Transitional Shelters. These shelters provide temporary accommodation, while social workers work with the families and individuals to address underlying social issues and secure long-term housing arrangements. For individuals who are unable to support themselves and have limited or no family support, long-term residential care and support is provided by our Welfare Homes. These homes help to meet residents’ basic needs, as well as help them improve their emotional and physical well-being through rehabilitation programmes.
3. Those who are homeless because they experienced family violence at their homes, and need a safe place away from the abuse, are referred to MSF-funded Crisis Shelters for temporary safe accommodation. Social workers will work with them to address their safety issues, and provide them with counselling and other services.
4. There are currently 3 Transitional Shelters and 11 Welfare Homes serving vulnerable groups, operated by Voluntary Welfare Organisations with MSF funding. Between 2016 and 2018, MSF provided assistance and support to an average of about 290 individuals per year who were homeless, destitute or sleeping in public places. There are currently 4 Crisis Shelters, which assisted 190 family violence cases on average each year over the same period.
5. There was an average of about 180 families in the transitional shelters and crisis shelters in each of the three years. Each year, these shelters also assisted an average of about 60 cases comprising foreigners who sought help on their own or were part of a transnational household.