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 13 years, we have seen that sustained employment is the key for many individuals and families to become self-reliance and obtain an independent living. However, due to personal and system factors, many of these homelessness and low income families are struggling to obtain a sustainable living wage. This is further aggravated when the sole breadwinner does not have a job for a long time and affected the 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 (650 families under HOPE scheme and 70 homelessness families. Both social services programmes are funded by MSF) find sustained employment and “Build New Hope” for their families’ future. We will also extend this program to benefit our ex-offenders clients.
This ‘Job Support Programme” known as Singapore Business Federation Foundation, Job Support & Retention Programme will also benefit many employers who urgently need to find workers due to the recent government measure to restrict foreigners to work in Singapore. Our more than 700 families will become a ready pool of employees for these companies to tap on. At the same time, our beneficiaries are also able to contribute to the society at large. It is a model of holistic, coordinated employment support for the most disadvantaged that if funded 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.