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Fewer homeless people sleeping on S’pore streets last year; city area has highest number
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Fewer homeless people sleeping on S’pore streets last year; city area has highest number

John Doe
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a homeless person lying on the floor
The number of homeless people in Singapore fell slightly last year, at a time when homelessness was on the rise in many countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the issue of homelessness also became less visible, as more people who would have slept on the streets went to stay at temporary shelters.
The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

The second nationwide street count of the homeless here found 1,036 people last year – 7 per cent less than the 1,115 people during the first such count in 2019.

That first nationwide street count has been described as a landmark study of an issue that was hidden from public discourse until recent years.

While the overall number has fallen slightly, where the homeless make their bed for the night has also changed.

The second street count found that those sleeping on the streets fell by 41 per cent from 1,050 in 2019 to 616 last year, while those staying at a temporary shelter for the homeless shot up from 65 to 420 in the same time period.

Dr Ng Kok Hoe, a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, led a team of researchers at the school’s Social Inclusion Project to do the street count. They were aided by over 200 volunteers who pounded the streets, including combing 12,000 blocks of flats, late at night between February and April last year to count the number of people sleeping in public spaces.

The data on the number staying at temporary shelters for the homeless, which was provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), was included for the first time in last year’s count for a fuller understanding of the state of homelessness here.

The 78-page report was released on Thursday (Aug 11). The project was not commissioned by the Government and was funded by the Community Foundation of Singapore, Dr Ng said.

He said government agencies and volunteers reached out to those sleeping rough during the circuit breaker in 2020 to refer them to shelters and many of the homeless, who were also concerned about their health and safety, decided to go into one.

Some religious and charity groups opened their premises for the homeless for the night, as demand for places in such Safe Sound Sleeping Places soared. Two new transitional shelters, which offer a longer stay, also started operation in January last year, the report said.

These factors led to more staying at shelters and fewer on the streets, Dr Ng said.

From the second street count, the homeless were found sleeping in most parts of Singapore, from Bedok to Jurong West to Yishun. But more of them were found in larger, older and poorer neighbourhoods.

Some 72 persons were found sleeping in the City area, or downtown, which has the largest number of homeless persons.

The city area, or downtown, has the largest number of homeless people, though it fell last year from the 2019 count.

Most of the homeless are elderly men and the report pointed out that few women sleep on the streets due to safety concerns.

Last year’s count found a sharp decline in those sleeping rough in commercial buildings, like shopping malls and office blocks, and more slept at places like void decks, parks and playgrounds.

The report pointed out that while the pandemic triggered their admission into a shelter, the homeless person’s housing woes started long before Covid-19 struck.

Highly subsidised public rental housing will always be the last safety net for the most vulnerable, Dr Ng said.

However, he singled out the design of the Joint Singles Scheme, which is under the public rental housing scheme, as a “significant contributing factor to homelessness”. This is because two singles, who are often strangers, share a tiny HDB rental flat which usually have no bedrooms, and the lack of privacy or personal space may lead to conflict.

And some would rather sleep on the streets instead, he said.

The HDB and the Ministry of National Development (MND) recognise the challenges some have applying for or sharing a rental flat and they have been reviewing and adjusting the Joint Singles Scheme in recent years, the MSF said in a statement in response to the street count.

For example, since December last year (2021), the HDB and MND started a pilot scheme where social service agencies match tenants with similar preferences and habits to share a flat. Under this pilot, singles can apply for a public rental flat by themselves, without having to find a flatmate first.

Flats under this pilot come with partitions installed

Applicants’ eligibility and rent are assessed individually.

The HDB and MND are assessing the effectiveness of this pilot project to see whether to scale it up over time, the statement said.

The MSF said there has been a steady and collective progress in whole-of-society efforts to reach out to and support rough sleepers, to help them off the streets and into shelters.

It cited the 57-member Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (Peers) Network, which comprises government agencies, religious groups and charities working together to ensure better coordination and synergy in the delivery of services to help the homeless.

The network’s partners have set up Safe Sound Sleeping Places. There are now about  20 such Places, which shelter about 100 homeless individuals. In addition, there are currently six transitional shelters serving families and about 270 individuals.

Since April 2020, over 680 homeless individuals who stayed at the various shelters have moved on to longer-term housing.

And since April this year, the MSF has been working with partners from the Peers Network and academic advisers to plan regular street counts. The first such coordinated street count will take place by the end of the year.

It said: “The street count will help us to collectively better understand the scale and geographical spread of rough sleeping in Singapore and render coordinated support to rough sleepers in need.”

Who were the homeless during the pandemic

Long-term homeless (those who were homeless before the pandemic) Newly homeless (those who had not slept rough before the pandemic) Transnational homeless (Singaporeans who live in Indonesia and Malaysia but travel to Singapore for work)
Sex  More men than women • Mix of men and women • Almost all men
Age • From 30s to 70s • From 30s to 70s • Mostly in their 50s
Family relationships • Almost all divorced, separated or never married • Having past conflict and estrangement, with many having lost contact with their family • Almost all divorced, separated or never married • Family relationships distant and strained, but connection remains • Long-term drift and overseas travel • Some had a spouse and young children in their adoptive countries whom they are still connected to
Work and finances • Low-wage and insecure jobs • Extreme poverty • Low-wage and insecure jobs, with a few having had better paying jobs in the past • Difficulty meeting basic needs • Regular border crossings for low-wage and insecure jobs in Singapore • A few did informal work outside Singapore • Low income
Housing histories • Lost matrimonial home or never purchased housing • Encountered barriers in public rental system • Episodes of low- cost market rentals • Lost matrimonial home or never purchased housing • Moved frequently to stay with family, friends • In low-cost market rental units • Lived in Malaysia or Indonesia • Encountered difficulties obtaining public housing in Singapore for non-citizen family members
Rough sleeping • From a few months to many years • No more than a few days when displaced during the pandemic • A mix of experiences, from rough sleeping to staying in homeless shelters
How they entered a shelter* • Found by volunteers or field workers while rough sleeping during pandemic • Some self-referrals • Self-referrals when pandemic disrupted housing arrangements • Most were stopped at immigration checkpoints and directed to a shelter after border closures**

*Homelessness counts usually include both rough sleepers (primary homelessness) and persons in homeless shelters (secondary homelessness).

**Those entering Singapore from Malaysia just before the borders were closed were identified as having no housing and referred for assistance so they could comply with Covid-19 rules on staying indoors

Table: STRAITS TIMES GRAPHICS  Source: LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY

If you would like to know more about the Sayang Sayang Fund, please visit here. This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.
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Events

Donor Learning Trip Series: The Art of Mental Well-Being

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This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

On the afternoon of October 19, 2023, 17 of our donors visited the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and learned about the work they do. 

Established in 1968, SAMH has been a stalwart in Singapore’s mental health community, improving the lives of persons with mental health issues through rehabilitation and reintegration.  

SAMH Space2Connect is a newly established integrated wellness centre that provides mental health services to individuals aged 10 and above, families, and communities. The centre aims to empower clients, improving their well-being and walking with them on their road to recovery; while also serving as a collaborative hub for partners to come together and strengthen community mental health and resilience.

Confronting the realities of youth mental health

SAMH strives to destigmatise mental health amidst rising numbers of youths requiring support, encouraging them to seek help. Statistics highlight the severity of the issue, with suicide being the primary cause of death among 10 to 29-year-olds in Singapore in recent years. According to Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), out of the 476 suicides in 2022, 125 involved those in this age group. This is 13 more than in 2021 and the highest since 2000, which marks SOS’ earliest recorded data.

A substantial number of youths admit they are grappling with mental health symptoms, emphasising the pressing need for support. A recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore reported that one in 10, or 12% of adolescents met full diagnostic criteria for having at least one current mental health disorder. About one in three youth in Singapore reported internalising mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and loneliness, with those aged 14 to 16 reporting more serious symptoms. Meanwhile, roughly one in six young people said they experienced externalising mental health symptoms, such as hyperactivity, rule-breaking and aggression.

Through the afternoon, donors heard beneficiaries tell their stories and toured the space. They learnt how their contributions have supported youths particularly through SAMH YouthReach, which offers psychosocial support and recovery programmes for youths aged 12 to 21 facing emotional, psychological, and psychiatric issues. Mental health recovery is often not linear, and SAMH provides ongoing support for clients beyond treatment completion.

“It was inspiring to learn how our giving was making a difference to the lives of the youths supported by SAMH YouthReach, and to understand more about the good work that SAMH is doing,” said a donor from the CKY Foundation, who has been giving with CFS since 2022 after being introduced by the Economic Development Board. 

“CFS has helped us work towards our philanthropic goals by making an impact across a range of causes and charities through the insights provided by our fund’s dedicated philanthropy advisor. It is heartening to witness the impact of one’s philanthropy in person, and to meet the people that you have helped.”

A place for community and self-expression

In addition to learning about SAMH’s programmes and services, donors had a chance to experience a therapeutic art activity for themselves as they joined two young adult clients of SAMH YouthReach in an interactive hands-on session. Through the fun, laughter and unleashed creativity, they discovered the potential of creative pursuits as a tool for promoting mental wellbeing.

With funding support, SAMH plans to expand their outreach further, with initiatives focusing on the impact of sleep, nutrition and movement on mental health.

We are grateful for the opportunity to meet the CFS donors, showcase SAMH facilities and programmes to them, and facilitate direct engagement with our beneficiaries. Their contributions empower us in our mission to help and support individuals in our community who face mental health challenges

CFS would like to express our deep appreciation to SAMH for the remarkable work that they do, and acknowledge our donors for their invaluable support. To find out more about how you can contribute, visit https://www.cf.org.sg/giving/ways-to-give/

References

https://www.sos.org.sg/pressroom/highest-recorded-suicide-numbers-in-singapore-since-2000

https://medicine.nus.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/PRESS-RELEASE-YEAR-Study-26APR2023-IMMEDIATE-RELEASE.pdf 

In 2023, CFS proudly marks our 15-year milestone on a journey dedicated to empowering donors to create meaningful impact. Since its establishment in 2008, we have received over S$292 million in donations and disbursed over S$157 million in grants to support more than 400 charitable partners in Singapore. Join us in shaping a brighter future for worthy causes by becoming a valued donor. Your contribution can make a substantial difference.

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Company of Good

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A snapshot of 'company of good partner 2016', showcasing a reliable and trustworthy business alliance.

Company of Good (COG) is a programme that empowers businesses to give better and more holistically. Companies can gain access to a self-assessment tool, a wide range of resources and an exclusive networking circle. The Community Foundation of Singapore is proud to be a partner of Company of Good to help equip companies with the knowledge and tools to do good together. Read more.

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

The 53-year-old took over from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jessica Tan, who has been the association’s president since 2012. Tan had reached the end of her tenure, which saw the national team make several breakthroughs, including a gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Liang-Lin holds various appointments such as being Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women appointed by the Ministry of Finance. She is also a board member of the Community Foundation of Singapore, which promotes philanthropy through facilitating the establishment of charitable funds.

She said: “One of the things that is overlooked when we look at philanthropy and fundraising is that sport is not really part of the things that people will automatically think about.

“Less than one per cent of the funds that we raise in the Community Foundation goes to sport. The values that sport brings need to be amplified more, so that corporates… see the need to support sport. I think that link needs to be stronger so that we get not just more corporate sponsors, but also they can come in for longer periods of time.”

While national agency Sport Singapore provides funding to netball, corporates can also do their part, she added.

She said: “If we play our cards correctly, we can get corporates to come in and hopefully support them, to see the wider purpose of sport and bring the nation together.”

She also hopes the association can be proactive in looking for financial support, adding: “We must work more strategically with governing bodies on educating corporates on the importance of really supporting sport.”

The former netball player also made references to the recent Women’s World Cup for football, noting the “ability for a game that focuses on women in the sport to bring global attention”.

She said: “I want that kind of trajectory of the limelight going to women’s sport. I think that is a trend that will continue, and I hope that netball will be part of that trend.”

Meanwhile, Tan was satisfied that she has achieved the three objectives she had set out to do when she came on board – to improve quality of play, build a fan base and create an ecosystem which involves coaches and players.

The 57-year-old added: “As much as I do feel sad about having to step down, but at the same time, leadership renewal is very important.

“I think Trina will help to galvanise the team together, and bring a lot of new perspectives and quality to the association.”

Join us in making an impact on Singapore sports scene! Reach out to us for more information.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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CFS wins inaugural award for contributions to the community care sector

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cfs receives prestigious Friends of Community Care Awards 2020, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the community.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is one of twelve organisations selected to receive the inaugural Friends of Community Care Award 2020.

Launched by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC), the award honours organisations outside of the community care sector who have contributed to the community care sector.

CFS is honoured to have been selected by a distinguished judging panel, comprising veterans from the Community Care Sector, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health and AIC.

A Friend in Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis in Singapore was the catalyst for a series of conversations between CFS and AIC. With early cases of COVID-19 being reported from February to March 2020, CFS approached AIC to see how CFS could support the sector as it faced with new and unprecedented challenges.

Through these conversations, CFS was constantly receptive to AIC’s feedback on areas of need amongst community care providers. As a nod towards CFS’ appreciation of community care workers, CFS took the first step of sponsoring the first Tranche of Staff Appreciation to boosting staff morale and welfare.

Through CFS’ new community impact fund, the Sayang Sayang Fund, CFS was able to fundraise and provide targeted support for vulnerable communities impacted by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Keeping seniors safe was one key priority. CFS’ timely and forthcoming support helped Community Care providers focus on managing the situation and safeguarding the interests and wellbeing of seniors.

Bolstering the Sector

With almost $8 million raised through the Sayang Sayang Fund, CFS’ work helped to provide more donations for the sector. This has greatly enabled community care providers to provide sustained support to their beneficiaries amidst the COVID-19 situation.

“When CFS worked on supporting the vulnerable in the community during the pandemic, winning an award was the last thing on our minds,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS, “While it is wonderful to receive positive affirmation, what is more valuable is the great partnership we have struck up with AIC to realise our objectives of improving the quality of life of our people.”

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Events

Singapore Youth Impact Collective helps youths progress from classroom to working life

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John Doe
A diverse group of individuals standing united in front of a sign displaying the empowering message "Together We Can.". (From left) James Tan, Tan-Wu Mei Ling, Justina Tan, Joyce Teo, Dr Ang Kiam Wee, Pang Sze Khai and Jacky Ang.

Despite the heavy rain on the morning of 9 October 2018, hearty drumbeats and festive excitement filled the air at Level 5 of Block A, ITE College Central.

It was the much-awaited launch of the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, a first-in-Singapore initiative that uses the collective impact model to empower disadvantaged youths to progress more smoothly from the classroom to fulfilling careers.

The Collective also launched two youth empowerment programmes – A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E by TOUCH with a new centre at ITE College Central and Youth Forte by SHINE.

Guests were treated to a rousing performance by ITE College Central’s Brazillian percussion group Batidas Centro whose energetic drumming could be heard even at Level 1.

CFS Deputy CEO Joyce Teo gave a short inspirational speech, saying: “We believe disadvantaged youth have the ability to achieve their maximum potential. We promise that we will work together to improve youth work-readiness by enabling our youth to have the academic and vocational qualifications, personal assets, and opportunities to succeed.”

After the Collective was launched, guests were invited to tour the new centre and try their hand out at its various recreational activities, such as video games and darts.

Students from the Adventure Facilitation interest group were also on hand to demonstrate some outdoor tips while the Barista interest group youths satisfied thirsty guests with the delectable gourmet coffee they had brewed themselves.

The Collective, which comprises Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore, Credit SuisseOctava FoundationSHINE Children & Youth Services and TOUCH Community Services, was formed when the members recognised the complexity of social issues disadvantaged youths faced and realised that multiple stakeholders needed to work together to find effective ways to help them.

Industry partners who are able and willing to provide opportunities for internships and job immersion experiences for the youthsare invited to contact youthcollective@cf.org.sg to see how they can support these programmes.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

admin bluecube
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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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