More rooms, facilities at new site of male ex-convicts' shelter

Spooner Road location a better environment for Transit Point's beneficiaries, says charity

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (in grey) yesterday touring the sleeping area of Transit Point, a shelter run by New Hope Community Services.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (in grey) yesterday touring the sleeping area of Transit Point, a shelter run by New Hope Community Services. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Former inmate Mohamed Salleh used to feel that he was the "trash of society", but now he has an opportunity to contribute back to society every day.

Mr Salleh was struggling with drug addiction and had served several prison terms when he sought temporary housing for a few months at New Hope Community Services' (NHCS) transitional shelter for male former convicts in 2012.

It was to be a turning point.

The shelter - now named Transit Point and previously known as Shelter for Men-in-Crisis - connected him to a social worker and he also found a job as a general worker with NHCS, which he still holds.

Mr Salleh, 60, said at the official opening of the shelter's new premises at 3 Spooner Road yesterday that he is now happily married, has a stable job and recently received the keys to his new flat.

"I gave up on myself, but (those) at New Hope didn't give up on me. They gave me hope when I didn't have any," he said. "I am clean for more than five years now; I am living a fulfilling life."

The shelter's previous location at a rented bungalow in Punggol could cater for only 20 to 25 residents, but the larger building in Spooner Road, near Outram Park MRT station, has a range of new facilities and room for up to 60 residents.

It is also more accessible and is a better environment for the residents, said NHCS founder and chief executive Andrew Khoo.

"Environment is very important for running a shelter. People who come to the shelter must have a good feel, that you care and you value them," he said.

The new facilities include a larger dining area and a recreation hall, and there is now air-conditioning at night.

Transit Point is funded by the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises, a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

NHCS also offers shelter to families and individuals in other locations. Since the organisation was started in 2003, it has helped more than 900 homeless people through the physical shelter and the social services it provides.

These services include counselling, life skills training, job coaching, a savings programme and long-term housing support.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin said at the launch: "What they (the former offenders) need is a strong ecosystem, so that they can have that support network, so that they can bounce back and rebuild their lives and rejoin society.

"International research has shown that appropriate housing is critical for former offenders' social integration, and this is a key factor in preventing reoffending. Therefore, the launch of Transit Point is timely and relevant."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2019, with the headline More rooms, facilities at new site of male ex-convicts' shelter. Subscribe