Mr Hamdan Ahmad, 45, works two jobs day and night to take home a total of around $2,170 a month. It's barely enough for his family of eight. Still, he is proud that his hard work will allow his family to have a new two-room Housing Board flat next year.
But he does not qualify for the Workfare Income Supplement which would give him an additional $2,000 per year, most of it in CPF. The reason: his combined pay from his two jobs is higher than the $1,900 Workfare income ceiling.
Mr Hamdan and his family represent one group of the poor in Singapore: people with large families, doing their best but struggling to make ends meet. Social workers say single mothers and the elderly poor need looking out for too.
A new paper by a team of researchers and poverty experts from the Lien Centre of Social Innovation says Singapore needs to define poverty and make available more information and data about the poor. This will not only guide experts in finding solutions, but also generate more public support from donors and citizens for efforts to help the vulnerable. Many of Singapore's poor may not be destitute like those in developing countries, but they do exist, the experts say.