Organisations lend a hand to spring-clean homes this Chinese New Year

Habitat for Humanity volunteer Xi Wenhan (left) helping Mr Mohamed Euno paint his two-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - Mr Foong Keng Sung lives alone in a two-room rental flat. The 83-year-old has no family support and finds cleaning his living space difficult.

On Saturday (Jan 22), he was visited by People's Association grassroots volunteers who chatted with him and helped dust windows he could not reach.

Mr Mohamed Euno, 69, lives in a similar apartment and has had to spray insect repellent daily for some time now to get some sleep.

But after volunteers from Habitat for Humanity spent two months decluttering and deep cleaning his place, he can get some rest.

Organisations have stepped in to spring-clean the homes of needy residents this Chinese New Year.

Project Refresh, an initiative by the National Trades Union Congress' youth wing and the North East Community Development Council, will be giving 23 Housing Board units a fresh coat of paint.

Volunteers from the People's Association organised housecleaning projects last weekend, including the one Mr Foong benefited from. They have more planned for the coming week.

Forty young people from the Marine Parade Youth Network and its community partners visited 15 Housing Board flats to help seniors clean and declutter their homes.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Foong said: "Now that I am older, I cannot climb up and clean my windows. I am scared I will fall down."

The retired accountant lives alone in his Marine Terrace flat.

His only daughter, who lives in Hong Kong, last visited him before the pandemic.

Youth volunteers with Project Bloom cleaning and decluttering the home of Mr Foong Keng Sung, as well as putting up Chinese New Year decorations. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The risk of falling also makes it difficult for Mr Mohamed to declutter his home.

After he sustained two falls in July last year, the retired security guard struggled to do basic chores such as washing a load of laundry.

As a result, the senior, who owned more than 2,000 pieces of clothing last year, saw mountains of dirty laundry piling up in his two-room rental flat in Ang Mo Kio.

Since last November, volunteers from non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity have helped Mr Mohamed sort through his clothes and throw away those that he no longer needs.

They also helped him get rid of expired food as Mr Mohamed no longer has the strength to stand for a stretch of time to cook and instead receives meals twice a day from Touch Community Services.

Pest control workers also came in to eliminate cockroaches, which often crawled around the flat and required him to keep insect repellent at hand.

Mr Mohamed said: "These volunteers have done so much for me. They've made a 180 degree change to my house. I don't celebrate Chinese New Year, but I feel happy to have these friends to celebrate with."

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