This article was originally posted in our June 2020 Word@Work (COVID-19 Special Edition).
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”
— Matthew 25:35
Safe Sound Sleeping Places (S3P)
As the Body of Christ, just as we are called to share the Gospel and make His Word known—we are also called to care for the broken and vulnerable. Apart from guest workers and underprivileged communities, the COVID-19 has also affected vulnerable homeless individuals. With many public areas being cordoned off, some of them no longer even have temporary places of refuge; many have struggled to find places to sleep, rest, and consume meals.
In order to care for the rough sleepers amidst the COVID-19 situation, SowCare—the charity arm of The Bible Society of Singapore—worked closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in setting up Safe Sound Sleeping Places (S3P), throughout the circuit breaker period. The S3P initiative is spearheaded by MSF, in response to the urgent needs faced by the homeless community, that have been accentuated in the midst of COVID-19 situation.
As such, SowCare set up a temporary shelter for the homeless at S3P@7 Armenian Street. We are also currently working towards setting up another transient shelter at MacPherson. Through this initiative to serve rough sleepers, SowCare also raised funds and collected in-kind donations to administer holistic care through basic essentials, while working towards providing them with a permanent roof over their heads.
SowCare plans for the more permanent Transient Shelter at MacPherson—which is still in the works—to serve as an integrated social service hub for the poor and needy in the neighbourhood.
As many church premises remain unused during the Circuit Breaker period and beyond, we also encouraged the churches to open up their premises for these rough sleepers. While these facilities remain closed to the public, they can be put to good use as temporary shelters for the ones who are in need of refuge.
The InnKeeper’s Project
Additionally, as a member of Hope Initiative Alliance—an aggregator of assistance and services among hundreds of organisations and associates—SowCare supported HIA in responding to New Hope Community Services’ appeal to rally support for The Innkeeper’s Project.
Under The Innkeeper’s Project, more than 260 homeless individuals are temporarily housed in HDB estates; each flat accommodates two to four persons. Other partnering organisations included Methodist Welfare Services, Montfort Care and Singapore Kindness Movement.
As a supporting charity, SowCare has thus far assisted in providing holistic care for these 260 homeless individuals.
SowCare has particularly assisted—and will continue to support—HIA in rendering services and resources. SowCare is also committed to collect inkind donations, by designating Bible House as a collection point.
These round-the-clock efforts are inclusive of supplying meals, hygiene essentials and medical assistance—as well as items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, bedsheets, towels, and many more. These ongoing projects seek to care for the homeless beyond the circuit breaker period until they are equipped to transition back into a stable and secure environment.
Reiterating the need to care for these especially marginalised community, Rev Ezekiel Tan, Chief Executive officer of SowCare, stressed how “while many of us have the opportunity and luxury of staying home and keeping safe, the homeless have had the added anxieties of keeping themselves healthy, while making ends meet. We are honoured to have had the ability to work with the MSF and other partners, to care and remind the homeless that they are not forgotten amidst this trying period. It is only as a united community that we will be able to emerge as a stronger Singapore.” Should members of the public wish to support the initiatives, individuals may make cash and/or in-kind donations. To make in-kind donations and arrange for delivery, please contact us at our hotline 6304 3486.
Let us rally together as one Body of Christ to care for the ones who are most vulnerable and in need—allowing these often neglected individuals to tangibly feel that they matter and are cared for.
Click here to support the Homeless Community amidst the COVID-19 situation.
For more information visit SowCare.sg