We thank Mr V. Balu for his suggestions and concern for those in need (Set up task force to help those living on streets; Oct 11).
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) looks into each report of persons sleeping in public.
The MSF also conducts patrols and joint efforts with other agencies to engage those who are sleeping in public.
Our priority is to ascertain and address their immediate needs, in particular their health and safety.
Those with no family support and housing are offered shelter.
Individuals who need long-term support are cared for in welfare homes.
There are often multiple and complex issues that may result in a person sleeping in public.
For instance, some may have homes but are unable to return home due to a conflict with family members or tenants.
We work closely with social service, community and government agencies to extend help and support to these individuals by providing financial assistance, employment assistance, counselling to address marital and family issues, or referrals to other services.
There are also instances where individuals decline assistance, despite attempts by MSF officers, social workers and community members to engage them to offer the necessary support.
Members of the public can play a role too. If they see someone in need, they can approach him, understand his situation, and call the ComCare hotline on 1800-222-0000 or advise him to approach the nearest Social Service Office or Family Service Centre if he requires help.
Kong Kum Peck (Ms)
ComCare and Social Support Division
Social Policy and Services Group
Ministry of Social and Family Development