MP: 'Very few cases' and some refuse help
THE New Paper on Sunday contacted Jalan Besar GRC MP, Lily Neo, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Dr Neo says she is aware of the homeless situation in Chin Swee, adding that there are very few cases.
"Our grassroots volunteers do encounter refusal from the homeless for any form of assistance due to personal reason or their mental state," she explains.
"In such cases, we refer them to the Social Service Office (SSO) for further assistance.
"However, all these remain a challenge as some would refuse to seek help at all."
A spokesman for MSF says it receives regular feedback from the public on needy and destitute people who may require help.
He says: "These include beggars and people sleeping in public areas.
"MSF officers would visit these persons to understand their situations better and where appropriate, they would facilitate the assistance required.
"Needy persons who require urgent shelter would be placed in temporary accommodation where they get lodging, meals, medical attention and even job referrals."
He adds that Singaporeans who know of someone who requires help can refer the person to the nearest SSO where "officers are on standby to provide assistance".
"But as we strive to provide support to the needy in our community, we are also mindful that some prefer to be self-reliant and decline assistance," says the spokesman.
"MSF and its partners in the community will continue to watch over them and render aid where needed."
Dr Neo says grassroots volunteers work hand in hand with the neighbourhood police under the Citizens on Patrol (COP) scheme to patrol the estate.
She adds that the community programme acts as a measure to ensure the safety of residents in the estate and to prevent crime.
"In addition, they also keep a lookout for any homeless people who might be sleeping at the staircase landings, void decks or playgrounds in the night and offer assistance by referring them to the Destitute Person Service (DPS) under the Ministry of Social and Family Development," she says.
DPS has a dedicated 24-hour hotline at 1800-222-0000 for the public to call and refer the homeless for assistance.
Dr Neo says the homeless situation at Chin Swee is "manageable and the homeless do not plague the whole precinct or create any inconvenience to our residents".
"Our grassroots volunteers will continue to work with the neighbourhood police, DPS and SSO to offer assistance to these homeless," she adds.
"In the meantime, the COP members at Chin Swee have stepped up their patrol... and we hope that the homeless are willing to accept our help to refer them to the relevant agencies for further assistance."