An elderly man who reportedly spends nights with his girlfriend at the stairwell of an HDB?block in Clementi Ave 3 is causing?a disturbance for some residents.
The man, believed to be in his 70s, has been spotted by resident Li Baihua sleeping rough at Block 441A with a 50-year-old woman, apparently his girlfriend, since December last year, according to a report by Shin Min Daily News yesterday (Feb 12).
"My husband saw how pitiful the man was and gave him water and wanted to give him some money, but he declined. He appears to have limited mobility and needs a walking stick to get around," the 68-year-old retiree told the Chinese daily.
Li added that while she did not pay much attention to the man and his girlfriend previously, she noted that the pair had been making the space very dirty lately, such as leaving leftover food around, which had made the situation for residents intolerable.
She shared: "They slept in one corner and peed in another, and it smells really bad. We are also concerned that it may attract insects and rats."
The elderly man had once revealed to her husband that he has a home in Teban Gardens but didn't share his reason for choosing to sleep at the stairwell instead.
In addition, Li shared with the Chinese daily that she had once witnessed the elderly man lying down at the stairwell in his underwear with his girlfriend, who was said to have been fired from her position at the coffee shop nearby recently.
"This is really inappropriate. There are other residents nearby and children too," she added.
A Facebook user named Wan Ru Sek?had also?taken to the social media platform?on Feb 3?to share about the situation, hoping that netizens could provide suggestions as the couple was still leaving the stairwell in a dirty state?despite multiple reminders.
The user added:?"Police intervention has been attempted, but he flees before their arrival."
A Shin Min reporter had visited the location and found stains on the ground and a foul smell permeating the air. There were also a few cardboard boxes, believed to be left by the couple, at the stairwell.
In response to queries from the Chinese daily, Dr Tan Wu Meng, MP for Jurong GRC, shared that he had met with the residents and sought support from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and other agencies, hoping that they can assist the elderly man.
An MSF spokesperson shared that they were informed of the matter on Feb 3 and were unable to find the man despite numerous attempts.
"We will continue to search and get him the help he needs," they added.
Sleeping rough in Singapore
The number of rough sleepers in Singapore had fallen more than 40 per cent from 921 in 2019 to 530 in 2022, according to a report by MSF in 2023.
Most of these?rough sleepers were found to be middle-aged and older Chinese men and common reasons for their situation include financial problems, issues with securing or maintaining housing and disagreements with family or co-inhabitants.
They were also mostly sighted near HDB blocks, including void decks, pavilions, playgrounds, void decks and exercise stations.
If you encounter any rough sleepers who need assistance, you may call the Community Care (ComCare) hotline at 1800-222-0000, email the PEERS office at email@example.com or use the OneService App for assistance.