SINGAPORE: A new welfare home to help elderly destitute men was officially opened on Tuesday (Apr 17) by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Located in Admiralty, Acacia Home aims to reintegrate its residents back into the community by facilitating job placements and housing arrangements.
Many of the men at the home have little to no savings, are unable to afford their own homes or are estranged from their families, said the superintendent of Acacia Home Regine Chan.
In such cases, they are referred by social services to the home, which is run by Sathya Sai Social Service.
The home is able to take in up to 250 elderly destitute men, up from its capacity of 100 at its previous interim location at Kaki Bukit Centre.
Currently, the Admiralty facility is home to 110 residents aged between 55 and 88, who are referred to the home by MSF. Such welfare homes were established under the Destitute Persons Act for the reception, care and rehabilitation of destitute persons, according to the MSF website.
Besides shared facilities like laundry areas, bathrooms and four to eight person-dormitories, the building also features a mock-up of a one-room rental flat to give residents an idea of how to navigate a home living space.
Last year, about seven residents secured employment while five cases successfully moved into rental flats.
Ms Chan said residents who show potential to be discharged will stay in pairs in the mock-up space for around three months.
If they can live well together, the home will help them apply for a rental flat unit under the Joint Singles Scheme.
It also offers rehabilitative programmes such as addiction management and life skills therapy. Those with mobility issues can participate in physical wellness programmes like physiotherapy and gait training.
Speaking at the home's official opening, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee emphasised the importance of community involvement.
"We partner employers and businesses nearby to offer job opportunities for residents, to ease them into external employment and eventually, independent living," he said. "The close involvement of our community partners will help foster a sense of community belonging in residents. This will ensure that their reintegration to society is as seamless as possible."
There are 1,823 destitute people living in welfare homes as of the end of last year.
Admission to a welfare home is a last resort and carried out only after a person has exhausted other avenues such as community-based care options, stated MSF on its website.
Those who are assessed to be capable of independent living, or who have willing caregivers, are discharged to the community. Residents may also be discharged to sheltered homes and senior group homes.
Admission to welfare homes is statutory and under the provisions of the Destitute Persons Act, according to MSF.
Under the Act, a destitute person can refer to a someone found begging in public in such a way as to create a nuisance, or to an "idle person" found in a public place with no "visible means of subsistence or place of residence", or who is unable to give a satisfactory account of himself.