Homeless family lives in an office

Amy (not her real name) (“HDB: 18 appeals and still homeless”, TOC, Jun 11, 2011)http://theonlinecitizen.com/2011/06/hdb-18-appeals-and-still-homeless/ came with her 39 year old brother, David (not his real name), David’s wife and one year old son.

From homeless shelter to homeless

David’s family of three have been homeless for about a month.

They were evicted from a homeless shelter as they had been staying there for more than a year, at a rental of about $100 a month.

On HDB rental waiting list

They have been on the waiting list for a HDB rental flat for about one and a half years.

Financial assistance

In addition to the homeless shelter assistane , they also received $80 supermarket vouchers a month for six months, and $30 vouchers for three months.

David works as a driver-cum-delivery on the permanent night shift from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., six to seven days a week, with a gross monthly pay now of about $1,500.

Living in an office

His wife and one year old son sleeps in his employer’s office, from around 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. everyday, with the permission of his employer. They accompany him on his delivery work from around 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Everyday, as the office premises is not available when work starts to pick up at the ofice from around 6 a.m.

Resting in public places

They spend their time from around 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday, wandering to pass the time and for David to get some rest, at any suitable public place, like void decks.

What struck me most during the meeting with Amy and David’s family, was when David’s wife asked “For how long more do we have to live like this”.


Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.