Individuals served in FY19: 1,815
Volunteers engaged in FY19: 4,718
- Capital: Singapore
- Population: 5.7 million
- Life expectancy: 83.6 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.2%
Source: World Bank
Habitat for Humanity in Singapore
Habitat for Humanity Singapore began operations in response to the urgent reconstruction needs following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Since its inception, Habitat Singapore has continually mobilized volunteers under the Global Village program for building projects across the Asia-Pacific region in countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, India and more. In Singapore, the Project HomeWorks program seeks to improve the living conditions of vulnerable older persons and families living in public housing across the island. To date, more than 30,000 volunteers from Singapore have worked on over 1,300 builds in the Asia-Pacific and almost 3,000 local home improvement projects. Habitat Singapore is also involved in fundraising and advocacy initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.
Housing needs in Singapore
Before 1960, only 9% of Singapore’s population lived in low-cost public housing. Today, over 80% of Singapore’s population lives in high quality apartment units built by the Housing & Development Board. Over 90% of these residents are homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity Singapore began operations in 2004 by mobilizing volunteers to respond to reconstruction needs following the Indian Ocean tsunami. While volunteers continue to support Global Village builds overseas, others help to improve the living conditions of vulnerable households such as older people residing alone under Project HomeWorks. According to government data, in 2018, the number of older people living on their own is expected to rise from over 50,000 in 2018 to 83,000 by 2030. Many of them reside in one-room rental apartments and unable to physically care for themselves. They face cramped, unhygienic and often pest-infected living conditions that call out for public assistance and support.
How Habitat addresses the need in Singapore
The Project HomeWorks program was conceived to improve the living conditions of vulnerable groups such as older people and those with illnesses or with disabilities living in public rental flats all over the island. Volunteers are mobilized to clean up homes, make minor repairs and ensure facilities meet safety standards. Since 2006, more than 15,000 volunteers have participated in almost 3,000 home improvement sessions. In addition, Habitat Singapore raises awareness of the need to eliminate substandard housing through high-profile events such as Home Sweep Home and LitteRally.
Habitat Singapore has partnered with several corporations, charitable foundations and non-governmental organizations. Singapore-based celebrities such as Paul Foster, Eunice Olsen, Corrinne May and Anita Kapoor lend their support as Habitat Singapore’s ambassadors. Members of campus chapters, a few of which have been established in local tertiary institutions, also volunteer, raise funds and advocate for Habitat.
Project HomeWorks is a local volunteer program in which Habitat Singapore’s supporters work with vulnerable households to make their homes safe and healthy. Many of these households include older people living alone, people living with disabilities and low-income families. Volunteers help declutter and clean up their homes —often small rental units —and replace pest-infested furniture. Since 2006, more than 17,000 volunteers have helped to rehabilitate over 3,200 homes.
International volunteer builds
Teams of volunteers from Singapore are regularly sent on Habitat’s Global Village trips to build homes in the Asia-Pacific region. To date, Habitat Singapore has mobilized more than 15,000volunteers who took part in over 1,400building projects. Popular destinations include Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Nepal. Due to the proximity to Batam, Habitat Singapore has been mobilizing volunteers to improve lives in Kabil village through new homes and adequate access to water, electricity and drainage in the west of the Indonesian island.