Forum: Homeless or are they sleeping rough?

A substantial number have a home, but difficulty with relationships drives them to prefer to sleep rough.
A substantial number have a home, but difficulty with relationships drives them to prefer to sleep rough.ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

The word "homeless" is probably not entirely appropriate in the study by Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (1,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets in S'pore: Study, Nov 9).

It can more accurately be described as a study of those sleeping rough.

Some of those studied are indeed homeless. However, a substantial number have a home, but difficulty with relationships drives them to prefer to sleep rough.

These problems call for different patterns of intervention. In one case, this is a population needing help to find a home.

In the other case, intervention would need to focus on seeking to solve interpersonal difficulties.

If interpersonal problems prove insoluble, then this would add to the proportion of rough sleepers who are indeed homeless.

Ann Wee