theonlinecitizen

a community of singaporeans

Needy waits 2 years under HDB’s Public Rental Scheme

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 21, 2010

Lisa Li

HDB flats in Bukit Batok

I refer to Ms Kee Lay Cheng’s letter ‘Priority given to truly needy’ in the TODAY paper (13 Jan 2010) in reply to Mr Leong Sze Hian.

According to Ms Kee, who is the Deputy Director (Land Administration) Housing and Development Board, “HDB provides highly-subsidised rental flats under the Public Rental Scheme to eligible Singapore citizens, with rents as low as $26 per month.”

She also stated that “any person, Singapore citizen or otherwise, can rent similar flats from the open market without waiting.” Perhaps I have misunderstood Ms Kee, but I find that she has conflated two separate points.

Under the Public Rental Scheme, first-time Singaporean applicants with a household income of $800 or below may be able to rent a 1-room flat from $26 to $33.

According to the HDB website, under this same Public Rental Scheme, the estimated waiting times from the date of application to the date of the first selection exercise are as follows, for 1-room flats: Ang Mo Kio (25 months), Bukit Merah/ Jurong (19 months), Bedok/ Tampines (24.5 months), Woodlands (22.5 months).

Ms Kee’s two points that needy Singaporeans can rent flats for as low as $26, and that Singaporeans need not wait to rent flats appear to both be true. However, it also appears that they cannot both be true at the same time.

When Ms Kee refers to Singaporeans being able to rent flats without waiting, I suspect she is referring to Singaporeans renting flats at the “normal”, more expensive price on the open market, and not the $26 – $33 price under the Public Rental Scheme.

She appears to have misunderstood Mr Leong’s point, which is that the rental price of $140 in a shared HDB flat, from EM Services, is an option only for foreigners and not open to Singaporeans.

Furthermore, with two HDB blocks in Toa Payoh set aside for rental to foreign employees from the Integrated Resorts ( ‘HDB flats for IR workers’, The Straits Times,18 December 2009), it seems that these foreign employees would not have to wait an average of 2 years for rental application.

I believe Mr Leong’s point was that while foreign employees seem able to rent cheap flats quickly, needy Singaporeans have to wait approximately 2 years if they apply for flat rental under the Public Rental Scheme, without even a certainly of success.

When I visited some homeless Singaporeans of all ages living in our public parks in December 2009, I found out that many had their flats repossessed, or their application for 1-room rental flats denied. Some were told that there was no room in the shelters for them. Some were waiting for their 1-room rental application to be processed – a process that could take almost 2 years, according to the HDB website.

Waiting time for Public Rental Scheme

I am definitely not suggesting that foreign employees be left homeless or given housing with poor conditions. I am merely concerned that there are many Singaporeans who are left homeless and who do not seem to be able to rent a cheap room quickly.

It is only humane that Singapore ensures a reasonable standard of living – at least basic necessities and a roof over one’s head – for everyone whom it has welcomed to its shores, Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans alike.

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6 Responses to “Needy waits 2 years under HDB’s Public Rental Scheme”

  1. Anonymous said

    They dont really care, they want relatives and friends to help and hopefully by the end of waiting time, they dont need such flats anymore!

  2. swivel17@hotmail.com said

    I have seen a contract for a one room house,renewal every two years as follows:-

    HOUSEHOLD INCOME <$800 –THE RENT PAYABLE IS $26
    " $801-$1500– " 30% of market rent
    $1,500-$2,000 " 50% of market rent
    " Above $2,000 " 70% of market rent
    The average market rent(as at 2005) 1Room=$360; 2Rm=$480; 3Rm=$680; 4Rm=$810.
    This market rates will be updated at the next renewal of contract, due in 2010.
    I wonder how the older singels above 55 are going to cope up in paying market rates that keep increasing. Besides coping with the payment of other bills such as medical, utility,transport and other bills. It will be a disincentive for the older occupants to be working gainfully. As a lower 'Housold Income'$801-$1,500 jacks up the rental several times higher.It' better to be unemployed at an older age and fall into the below $800 income to pay a much lower rental for the one room house.
    I believe the idea of having a one room house was to house the older unmarried single Singapore citizens,who never owned a house in their life-time,cheaply with partner.
    It would be of great help to the elderly tenents if the household income of $801 to $1,500 be brought up to a higher treshold, so that the rental will be lower. This will justify the elderly tenents to be on the job market and meet the burden of paying other bills like for medical. I know of elderly tenents in one rooms who save costs on utilities by not bathing for two to three days. But just spray the Butterfly Brand Florida Water Perfume diluted with water on themselves before going to work. They even miss taking their medication because of non-affordability. If they have saved some cash then they travel to Johor Bahru to buy medication, which is cheaper.

  3. Andrew Tang said

    You vote for the devil, you get hell.

  4. Winston Cheng said

    In my opinion, the government has no business in helping to house the foreigners working in the IRs. It is a business deal between the IRs and the foreign workers. The IRs or the foreign workers themselves should look for housing in the open market. Why is our government partaking that responsibility?.

    Our government is effectively helping the IRs pay low wages and housing cost resulting in Singaporeans losing the opportunity of being employed by the IRs.

  5. kelvin said

    My relative went to Mps (Meet people Session) to ask for help to rent a flat for his mistake(loanshark)which he need to sell his house to repay his loan . And , Mps told him to go HDB . HDB told him to wait for 30 months after selling his flat and ask him to go CDC for help since he was jobless now . CDC ask him to fill in comcare fund form first and wait . Till now , in the mean time , loadshark kept calling his wife and family for money then he got to hide somewhere in Singapore . If you make mistake esp. money issue related to loanshark , goodluck , solve it yourself .

  6. commentator said

    Looking at the case of Kelvin’s relative, I guess many people end up working for the loanskark whom they borrow from – and we can’t blame them. (given that we have such MPs, HDB and CDC that set you on a merry-go-round)

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