Many individuals who are homeless and low income families want to work but have multiple barriers to tackle before being able to gain – or sustain – employment. This is even more the case in the competitive, fast-moving, short-term, low-waged labour market that many low skills or no recent work experience are likely to find themselves in. And while the government has emphasized the importance of upgrading skills and actively promoting various jobs search and training programmes to the average Singaporeans, many of our homeless and marginalized beneficiaries are still not able to access the right type, length, or intensity of support that could lead them to new skills and work at a sustainable living wage.
Over the last 16 years, we have seen that sustained employment is the key for many individuals and families to become self-reliant and live independently. However, due to personal and systemic factors, many of these homeless and low income families are struggling to have a sustainable living wage. This is further aggravated when the sole breadwinner does not have a job for a long time which affects their families and children drastically. In many of these cases, there is very limited intergenerational social mobility and finding it a big challenge to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
Being the pioneer in working with the homelessness and low income population in Singapore, we have an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by these marginalized beneficiaries. Recognizing the importance of sustained employment and also the need to address the barriers to sustained employment, we aim to help our more than 700 families and 300 individuals (650 families under the HOPE scheme and our Shelter residents find sustained employment and “Build New Hope” for themselves and their families.
This ‘Job Support & Retention Programme” in partnership with SBF Foundation will also benefit many employers. Those who urgently need to find workers due to the recent government measure to restrict foreigners to work in Singapore. Our more than clients are a ready pool of employees for companies to tap on. At the same time, our beneficiaries are also able to contribute to the society at large.
In addition, we organise knowledge sharing and learning sessions for existing or potential employers. Such Empower Circles will enable best practices sharing and provide a bridge to relevant resources. The first session was organised by New Hope on 29 July 2020, attended by 8 participants, and we will continue to engage the employers, who are an important aspect of the ecosystem.
Overall, the Job Support & Retention Programme It is a model of holistic, coordinated employment support for the most disadvantaged that if supported and delivered in the right way, will enable more homelessness and low income individuals to achieve sustainable, progressive work. In this way, it helps many individuals to regain dignity and building New Hope
for their families.