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Results of the first-ever nationwide survey of the homeless in Singapore were released at a public lecture last November. The independent study, funded by a research grant from the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, had found over 1,000 rough sleepers in Singapore, with many in hotspots Rochor, Kallang, Bukit Merah and in the city area.  There had been no official definition or systematic measurement of homelessness in Singapore before November.

It appears that an official definition of “homelessness” indicates an emphasis on homelessness as a social issue, an acknowledgement of the complexity of situations faced by the homeless, which translates into partnerships across organisations. One such example is The Safe Sound Sleeping Places model pioneered by the Catholic Welfare Services, where churches and other groups open up their premises for the homeless
to stay the night.

With church leadership believing that this is a “living movement of Kingdom significance”, Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church – the oldest Presbyterian church in Singapore (PCS) – has been testing a six-month pilot project to allow the homeless to stay the night in their premises. Located in the city where Rochor is a hotspot for rough sleepers, they felt that it would be a sign of the Church’s care for the less fortunate, and lead the way for others to be “empowered witnesses” to the world if they could manage the logistics, security and operations of their project.