In the News
Sowing Care for the Homeless Amidst COVID-19
Features 09 Jul 2020
SowCare is the charity arm of The Bible Society of Singapore that aims to serve, empower and sow holistic care for the underprivileged communities in Singapore and beyond. Through its partnership with various voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), the organisation seeks to reach out to guest workers, homeless, the poor and needy communities.
The onset of COVID-19 saw the Singapore government implementing circuit breaker measures that included staying home to curb the spread of infection in the local community. In light of this, there are people within the community who simply could not adhere to this law even if they wanted to — because they did not have a place to call home. Fortunately, their hardship did not go unnoticed.
“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.” - Reverend Ezekiel Tan, CEO, SowCare
On the ground, the organisation saw the impact that the circuit breaker had on homeless individuals. With many public areas being cordoned off, they no longer have temporary places of refuge; many struggled to find places to sleep, rest, and consume meals. Having said this, SowCare wasted no time in jumping right into the heart of the situation to render immediate assistance.
In helping the rough sleepers, SowCare worked closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on the Safe Sound Sleeping Places (S3P) initiative during the circuit breaker period. SowCare set up S3P@7 Armenian Street, a temporary shelter for the homeless. To administer holistic care through the provision of basic essentials, it raised funds and collected in-kind donations to fund this initiative. SowCare was also successful in their application for theoscar@sg fund by Temasek Trust which provided the much needed financial boost to reach out and assist a bigger group of homeless individuals with the launch of ‘The Innkeeper’s Project’. Temasek and Temasek Foundation also rallied behind the efforts to donate in-kind mattresses and bedlinens.
“We are humbled 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.” - Reverend Ezekiel Tan
SowCare has thus far assisted in providing holistic care for 200 homeless individuals who will be temporarily housed in HDB estates and will continue to support Hope Initiative Alliance in rendering services and resources, to these homeless individuals.
"I am glad to see Singaporeans coming alongside to support us in the work. There is a sense of satisfaction in uniting the people and reigniting the kampung spirit. Some of the beneficiaries have since found jobs and seen significant improvement in their health." - Reverend Ezekiel Tan
These round-the-clock efforts include 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 transit back into society.
Find out more about oscar@sg fund: https://www.temasektrust.org.sg/Oscar