Tersembunyi di depan mata: Menangani tiada tempat tinggal dalam 'gila kaya' Singapura

Seorang lelaki kehilangan tempat tinggal membaca surat khabar di atas tanah di Singapura TengahFoto: Michael Coghlan

Walaupun tidak mudah dilihat, antara 921 dan 1,050 orang dalam tidur Singapura di jalan-jalan setiap malam. Mengapa negara bandar raya ini meninggalkan rakyat terdedah di belakang?

oleh Maegan Liew

pada bulan November 2019, satu kajian penting ke atas penduduk kehilangan tempat tinggal Singapura telah dikeluarkan. Kiraan jalanan di seluruh negara, diketuai oleh Penolong Profesor Ng Kok Hoe daripada Lee Kuan Yew Sekolah Dasar Awam, diumumkan buat kali pertama di skala tiada tempat tinggal di dalam negara.

Singapura mungkin telah latar belakang yang rakus untuk hit filem Hollywood Gila Rich Asia, tetapi terdapat sehingga 1,000 rakyat kehilangan tempat tinggal tidur kasar dalam negara bandar raya ini setiap malam.

Tiada tempat tinggal tidak mudah dilihat

Singapura mempunyai salah satu kadar tertinggi pemilikan rumah di dunia. Pada tahun 2018, angka itu berjumlah 91%. Fenomena tiada tempat tinggal di negara pulau itu tidak biasanya diperhatikan – sesungguhnya jika seorang sengaja pergi untuk mencari mereka menokok hidup di jalan-jalan.

Itulah yang sepasukan hampir 500 pekerja lapangan sukarelawan lakukan dalam tempoh tiga bulan untuk hasil Homeless di Singapura: Keputusan dari A Nationwide Street Count. Memulakan kerja selepas 11.30 pm, yang pekerja lapangan dicari dengan rapi lebih 12,000 blok rumah pangsa perumahan dan juga orang awam lain dan ruang komersial mencatatkan jumlah tidur kasar. mereka ditemuramah 88 dari orang-orang mereka mendapati tidur di jalan-jalan.

Penolong Profesor Ng Kok Hoe memberitahu ASEAN Today: "Penyelidikan memainkan peranan yang penting dengan membawa isu-isu sosial kepada terbuka dan menyediakan asas bukti bagi perancangan perkhidmatan atau dasar. Sebagai perubahan ekonomi dan masyarakat, kita mesti terus mempunyai penyelidikan untuk mengemaskini dan mendalamkan pemahaman kita tiada tempat tinggal. "

A homeless man uses a newspaper as a pillow as he sleeps on the street in Singapore
Foto: Hans Wakataitea

Singapore’s homeless population are easily overlooked. They rarely fit stereotypical profiles of the destitute and displaced. Many of the homeless in the city-state have “found ways to keep their appearance", dengan hampir 30% of the rough sleepers were identified by fieldworkers as ‘presentable’ and most do not carry many possessions with them.

Many are employed and working but homeless

The majority of the homeless in Singapore, hampir 60%, hold down jobs. The nature of their employment often drove them to the streets.

Most of the homeless are working in low-wage and irregular jobs, with many working in the cleaning, keselamatan, and retail industries. The median wage of an employed homeless worker stands at S$1,400 (US $ 1,036) sebulan. Gaji median kebangsaan adalah $3,467 (US $ 2,564) di Singapura. Membayar sewa atau gadai janji dengan pendapatan yang kurang daripada separuh daripada median kebangsaan adalah mustahil bagi kebanyakan yang tiada tempat tinggal ditemuramah.

Segmen penduduk dengan kemahiran yang lebih rendah dan tahap pendidikan adalah lebih terdedah kepada tempat tinggal yang berpunca daripada kerja-kerja yang tidak stabil dan bergaji. Sebahagian 76% penduduk kehilangan tempat tinggal Singapura mempunyai pendidikan sekolah menengah atau di bawah.

lebih-lebih lagi, dengan bermulanya penduduk yang semakin tua, tidak selamat dan kerja bergaji terutamanya membimbangkan kerana laluan untuk tempat tinggal. "Di Singapura, tiada tempat tinggal adalah berkaitan dengan kemiskinan di-kerja di usia tua. Kami mendapati bahawa orang kehilangan tempat tinggal di sini cenderung untuk menjadi lebih tua kerana tiada tempat tinggal mereka adalah berkaitan dengan kerja-kerja yang tidak selamat dan upah yang rendah, yang paling biasa di kalangan pekerja yang lebih tua,” Professor Ng told ASEAN Today. The average age of the homeless interviewed was 54, and more than half were judged by fieldworkers to be above the age of 50.

Gelandangan sebagai peratusan penduduk mengikut negara

Homelessness in the lion city is typically not a temporary condition. The study revealed that the majority of those who find themselves homeless in Singapore will likely remain so for years. Of those interviewed, separuh have been sleeping rough for between one and five years. Another third have been homeless for a period of six years or longer.

Amongst those interviewed, 40% of the group had previously sought help but were still unable to escape their predicament. Social Service Offices, which disburse financial aid, and Members of Parliament (Ahli Parlimen) were the most likely parties for homeless to turn to for help.

Help has not been forthcoming. While up to 1,000 Singaporeans lay their heads on the streets every night, only around 290 orang were recipients of assistance from the MSF.

Current schemes need to be beefed up to address homelessness

The chronic nature of homelessness means that the mitigating solutions have to be multifaceted in targeting problem factors. “Homelessness needs to be addressed through multiple strategies. Services like outreach and befriending are important because they provide relief and support to homeless people. They can also help to connect homeless people to resources like financial assistance and overnight shelters. These services can be expanded,” Prof Ng elaborates.

Overnight shelters like Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)-funded Crisis Shelters and Transitional Shelters provide temporary accommodation and relief to the homeless. MSF also launched the Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (PEERS) Network in July 2019, bringing together 26 agencies including religious institutions in helping the homeless in Singapore.

An elderly man eating at a table in Central Singapore
More than half of Singapore’s homeless population are above the age of 50.
photo Kredit: Joan Campderros-i-Canas

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be a key player in devising longer-term solutions to homelessness. Its public rental housing scheme is designed to help those most in need but strict eligibility criteria, like the joint tenancy requirement for singles to co-rent a one-room flat, have blunted the thrust.

15% of the rough sleepers interviewed by fieldworkers had HDB rental flats in their names but the challenges that come with sharing an apartment with strangers and conflicts with co-tenants have deterred them from going home for the night.

Prof Ng elaborates: “Inadequate conditions in public rental housing can both add to homelessness and prevent exit from it. The joint tenancy requirement for singles needs to be urgently removed.”

Pada masa yang sama, more needs to be done to ensure that an inclusive social safety net is in place to prevent Singaporeans from descending into homelessness in the first place.

“We need to restrict the pathways into homelessness and improve the exit routes into stable and secure housing,” Prof Ng informed ASEAN Today. But this will only come by looking at the problem as a multi-dimensional issue.

“To prevent homelessness, we must make work conditions more secure and protect wages at the bottom and strengthen alternative provisions of income security in old age for those who are unable to work,” Ng concluded.  

Mengenai Pengarang

Maegan Liew
Maegan belajar Sains Politik di Universiti Nasional Singapura. Dia senang membincangkan hubungan antarabangsa dan berusaha untuk memahami dunia dengan lebih baik melalui penulisan.