According to the latest statistics by the Ministry of Social and Family Affairs (MSF), there are more homeless people in 2016 compared to three years ago. In 2016, 71 homeless individuals were moved into transitional shelters as compared to 49 in 2013. The problem is more acute for elderly where 105 were sent to welfare home. 93 families were admitted to welfare shelters, with most of them unable to cope with mortgage payments.
There are now more poverty in Singapore due to the worsening job losses and depression of salaries. To keep unemployment rate low, there is no minimum wage in Singapore. Despite so, businesses are cutting back on wages as the economy outlook remain pessimistic. However, the MSF is quick to deny the increasing problem of poverty by cheery-picking the homeless family statistics:
“There are fewer homeless families now, as efforts have been made in recent years to ensure those in financial and housing difficulties are referred early to family service centres (FSCs) for help.”
The Ministry however does not keep track of the “working poor” in its report, who lead lives no better than the homeless. Desperate elderly who resort to collecting cardboard are not recognised as poor by the Singapore government, instead, they were labeled as “exercising” according to the MSF Minister Tan Chuan Jin. Another Minister of State Dr Koh Poh Koon said that the elderly are just doing their part for the environment.
Singapore Minister Chan Chun Sing rejects the setting of a poverty line, claiming that the poverty labeling is counterproductive. In reality, the government is worried poverty statistics may impact investor’s interests in the country which upkeep a facade of prosperity, and question the strength of its domestic demand .