How CP provides a Safe Place for Pregnant Mums in Crisis

By: CP Residences
March 2022

“No pregnant woman should ever feel alone or unsupported in Singapore.”

Growing up in a broken family, Ms Jennifer Heng found herself jumping from relationship to relationship. By the age of 19, she had gone through two unplanned pregnancies that ended in abortion. These devastating experiences fuelled her passion for helping unsupported mums and shaped her belief that “no pregnant woman should ever feel alone or unsupported in Singapore”.

In 2018, Ms Heng co-founded Safe Place with Lakeside Family Services. Safe Place is a non-profit organisation that aims to be a haven for this vulnerable group. Based on government statistics, there were 666 single parent and teenage births here in 2020. Safe Place provides essential help to these women through counselling, building authentic relationships, imparting relevant skills and knowledge, and referrals to other support and resources.

Safe Place also provides temporary accommodation for those in need. This is where CP Residences steps in.

A Partnership is Born

When Safe Place was still in its infancy in 2018, CP, which is always looking to support worthwhile causes, initiated contact after a member of the management team came across a media report on Safe Place. The two parties hit it off in their first meeting, laying the foundation for a fruitful partnership.

Ms Heng recounted: “It didn’t occur to me that a for-profit company in this sector would find synergy with a non-profit like ours. My team and I were inspired and excited about the possibility of CP being an extension of the support system that our clients needed. When we later met with CP’s leadership team, we were so touched by their genuine desire to empower the women at Safe Place.”

Logistics were quickly arranged, and accommodation was provided for the first beneficiaries within months. Much had to be done behind the scenes though. For instance, apartments had to be allocated and beneficiaries’ needs assessed before they were matched to suitable locations. Together with Safe Place, CP commits to providing residential respite for mums in need for up to six months after they give birth.

To mothers with infants who have nowhere to go, this is a lifeline.

Sanctuaries on Demand

Accommodation is crucial for the well-being of both parent and child. While Safe Place offers many services, providing housing is always a challenge, especially in land-scarce Singapore where property comes at a premium.

Homelessness is a very real problem these women face, with many having been abandoned by partners or kicked out by their families. Being stranded with a baby and without a comfortable place to lay your head is a frightening situation.

Ms Heng said: “The needs of our beneficiaries are often urgent and time-sensitive, so having a partner like CP who understands the situation and will go all out to help is really precious.”

For instance, one mother was able to stay with her husband and two babies in a CP apartment while waiting for the approval of their rental flat application. Otherwise, the family would have been split up, with the mother and children at a shelter and the father elsewhere.

Through CP’s generosity, their family bond was strengthened and they avoided a possible debt from renting.

Going beyond expectations

True to its service ethos, the CP team – not just the management but also ground staff – believes in going the extra mile. Unsupported pregnant women are particularly vulnerable as they are forced to fend for themselves while grappling with new responsibilities and life changes that come with childbirth. Besides tending to their baby’s needs, they also require help with mundane things like moving furniture and house cleaning.

Ms Heng has nothing but praise for the CP staff. “Whenever we request help, CP is always quick to say yes. Even if they don’t have the exact resource that’s needed, they are creative and flexible with providing alternatives.” 

For example, when CP could not provide suitable accommodation once, the company approached a business associate in the sector to source for alternatives.

(Credit: Jennifer Heng)

The road ahead

Nearly four years on, seven mothers have come through CP’s doors.

In recognition of CP’s contributions, a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to CP at Safe Place’s 1st Anniversary Luncheon by Mr Desmond Lee, then-Minister for Family and Social Development.

For Ms Heng and Safe Place, this collaboration has been an immense blessing. “The CP team is a joy to work with! Every staff member of CP Residences has been kind, patient and generous.”

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