More ex-offenders with accommodation problems

More ex-offenders are facing accommodation problems upon their release, said Mr Teo Tze Fang of Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprise (Score).

"We have seen an increasing number of cases of ex-offenders, usually repeat offenders, being rejected by their families at the last hour prior to their release," said Mr Teo, Score's chief executive officer. "This places a strain on our current shelter programmes, hence we are working with interested partners to increase shelter bed spaces to cater to those in need of interim accommodation."

The programme manager of Green Haven halfway house, Mr Alvin Tan, said it is not unusual to find that ex-offenders' families are not ready to take them back. Former drug addict Derrick Ee, who has been in and out of prison seven times, told The Straits Times that he had voluntarily checked into a halfway house after his recent release from prison in August 2009.

Mr Ee, 40, said: "My wife, who was seeking a divorce from me, was in the process of selling our matrimonial flat. My parents wouldn't let me home. I was worried till someone told me about Breakthrough Missions halfway house."

Fortunately for him, Breakthrough Missions gave him shelter. He has since rebuilt his relationship with his wife and family. He was discharged from the halfway house two years ago, but works there full-time. Two months ago, he moved into a new flat with his wife.

This article was published on April 29 in The Straits Times.

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