Aware: Have more inclusive housing policies for single parents

Romesh NavaratnarajahFebruary 16, 2017

HDB & sunset

The women’s rights group has come up with a list of recommendations to help single parents in Singapore secure affordable housing. 

Calling for more inclusive housing policies for single parents, the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) has released 16 recommendations to help single parents secure affordable housing, reported TODAYonline.

These include increasing the $1,500 income cap for rental housing, considering unwed mothers as a family nucleus with their child whenever they apply for public housing, and lifting debarment periods for rental housing and HDB flat purchases.

The women’s rights group revealed that the recommendations were drawn after interviewing 55 women, 95 percent of whom faced public housing problems. The respondents are unmarried, widowed, divorced or have spouses in prison.

The three main challenges encountered by these women are inability to access public housing despite help from their Members of Parliament, HDB officers giving unclear information on policies, and salaries surpassing the income cap for rental housing.

“As long as you don’t meet the criteria or you fall short of one category, you are rejected,” said Uma (not her real name), a divorced mother of four, who has struggled with the HDB purchase and rental application processes. “(Once rejected) you have to repeat the whole process again.”

Aware noted that all citizens should have access to housing, since a lack of such a basic need could lead to various social problems like poor academic performances, poverty and adverse health outcomes.

“Everyone needs decent and stable housing, regardless of marital status or family structure, and single-parent families are growing in number… Access to housing has a strong impact on family life and intergenerational social mobility,” noted Jolene Tan, Head of Advocacy & Research at Aware.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Development thanked Aware for its recommendations, saying that it will consider the findings during the review of its policies.

“We recognise that our policies may not address every circumstance. Therefore, on a case-by-case basis, we do exercise flexibility to help single parents, including single unwed parents, with their housing needs,” said its spokesperson.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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