Letter from Joseph Ang
Under the existing HDB policy, singles are not allowed to buy or rent flats directly from the Housing and Development Board (HDB), unless they partner with another single person and apply under the joint-singles scheme. In times of such economic uncertainty, when the economy has not fully rebounded, should such a policy be re-visited, so that singles can remain independent and maintain their sense of dignity?
I hope HDB will re-consider this policy and allow individual singles to rent or buy directly from HDB with minimal waiting time between application and allotment of flats (3 – 6 months at most). The sense of security of having roof over the head is very important to all Singaporeans – whether they choose to marry or remain single.
I personally know of a number of cases where singles rent from the open market as their extended family is not able to accommodate them for various reasons both personal and economic. The open-market room rental which is $450 per month, is very high to a single who is earnings may be limited. Many usually will suffocate for having to pay for public transportation, meals, and other daily needs, on top of the rent from the open market. And what’s worst is they don;t know where to go for help. The families in crisis can go to the family service centres, but where do the singles go to?
Being single is by no means easy, but it is nevertheless a lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves.
While I appreciate the pro-family policies of the government, the government should not forget singles in the process of being pro-family. Singles after all, do contribute to the economy of Singapore as well. Despite this, we are discriminated as ‘third-class’ citizens, and treated worse than a foreign worker, who at least has a dormitory to go to at the end of his hard day’s work.
With only a single income (as compared to at least double incomes in a family) and the ever rising valuations and cash-over-valuations, many singles will find it extremely difficult to buy a HDB flat from the open market.
Of course, HDB has the joint-singles policy for HDB rental flats; but what happens if a single person is not able to find another suitable person to co-share the rental flat with him? Should he be homeless because of this?
I personally know of quite a number of singles who are already at their wit’s end. Most are earning less than $1700 per month. How can they survive if they continue to rent from the open market? What about the singles who earn even lesser?
The newspapers reported recently that there are two block of flats made available for the foreign workers who will be coming here – presumably to work in the Integrated resorts. It does not make sense that foreigners will have ready HDB flats to move in to when they come to Singapore, but a single Singaporean like me is denied affordable housing.
The government should stop only talking about the ‘Singaporean first’ policy, but more importantly make it a practice – whether they be in a family or are just singles by choice!
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