Helping the homeless get back on their feet

Families without permanent housing should be encouraged to view homelessness as interim and resolve to rebuild their support network ("A fresh look at homelessness"; Feb 8).

In addition to housing, there are usually a myriad of factors, including social, financial and employment issues, facing these families, and it is vital to ensure they have access to a system of care and support in the community.

One approach could be in providing transition homes - temporary accommodation with "heart-ware".

Besides housing, this is where they can be provided social support and services such as counselling and life skills, which include money management and parenting skills to help families-in-transition get back on their feet and transit out of the home.

In strengthening community support, families-in-transition that reside in the same block can also create a network of support where they can help one another in the area of caregiving, such as looking after young children or ageing parents, while the main family breadwinners are away at work.

While the needs of families-in-transition may be complex, we should take on a collaborative approach, where the public, private and social service sectors come together to provide community-based services and support in ensuring a continuum of care and support for these families or families at risk of being homeless.

Edwin Yim


AWWA Family Service Centre

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'Helping the homeless get back on their feet'. Print Edition | Subscribe