Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng shared on his Facebook on Monday (9 March) a screenshot of an email written by a single mother expressing her appreciation towards Mr Seah for helping her in her appeal to rent a Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat.
In the email, the single mother shared that times are difficult for her and her son. As a single mother, she faces “tremendous pressure, both psychologically and financially”.
However, she noted that HDB has just informed her that her appeal has been successful, and that she is currently in the waiting list for a selection in Ang Mo Kio zone.
“With the HDB approval, I now can have a peace of mind for a place to stay in an HDB rental flat. I greatly appreciated your kind assistance in my appeal. Words simply cannot express my heartfelt gratitude,” she wrote.
Mr Seah, who is also Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Fairprice Co-operative, said that he is heartened to receive such an email, which gives him some assurance that he has made a difference to his residents.
New amendment of HDB’s Housing Measures for single unwed parents
In Parliament last Wednesday (4 March), Mr Seah raised the issue of housing needs for single unwed parents with children. He mentioned that the regulations for buying a home is rigid for single parents who are not married and are considered under the ‘singles’ category.
“If they’re under 35 years old, they cannot buy apartments, and if they earn more than $1500, they cannot apply for rental flats,” said Mr Seah, before asking what kind of options would be provided for them.
In response, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that unwed parents who are aged 21 and above with stable employment and can afford to buy a flat will be allowed to buy a flat, either a new two-room Flexi or a three-room flat in a non-mature estate.
While for those who are cannot afford to buy a flat and in need of a place to stay, they will be considered for a public rental flat if it is in their child’s best interests, by taking into account inputs from social workers.
“We do want to ensure that their children have a stable home to grow up in. So we will assist all unwed parents who approach HDB with their housing needs,” said Mr Wong.
According to HDB, the housing measures such as policies for smoother housing transition, access to housing subsidies, accommodation in the interim, and public rental housing were implemented to help single parents with their housing needs based on their situation.
Under the income guideline of HDB’s Public Rental Scheme, the applicant’s household gross income should not exceed $1,500 per month, yet HDB will still review the applications for monthly household income that are over $1,500.
With the high income ceiling for some of the single parents, there are cases where a single mother’s application for HDB rental flat was turned down and further neglected by the government.
Last month (12 February), another young single mother, Chanel Koh, took to Facebook to share her story of having her application of renting a HDB flat turned down as she tries to make ends meet for her family.
She had written to the government seeking help in applying for a HDB flat rental between 2015-2016, however, the application was rejected due to her income crossing the maximum threshold.
While the media had reported that HDB is following up with her appeal after her Facebook post went viral, Ms Koh shared with TOC that they had reached out to her with the usual protocol – to have her submit documents and subsequently wait for a response.