A petition was submitted to Parliament on behalf of a group of single parents who are struggling to get HDB flats.
The government is being urged to adopt an impartial and more inclusive housing policy for single parents in a petition submitted to Parliament on Monday (11 September), reported Channel NewsAsia.
It was presented by Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng for the benefit of seven single parents who are struggling to secure homes from the Housing and Development Board (HDB), as divorced parents are not allowed to purchase another HDB flat for 30 months after their previous flat is sold.
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As such, the petitioners want the government to incorporate a subsection in the Housing and Development Act stating that the authorities “shall not discriminate against any person with legal custody of a child on grounds of such person’s marital status”.
To support their petition, Ng pointed out that 95 percent of single mothers who needed HDB flats encountered difficulties in acquiring one due to current policies.
“Firstly, unmarried parents and their children are not recognised by HDB as a family nucleus. Secondly, long debarment periods prevent divorced parents from accessing purchase and rental flats.
“In light of the increasing number of single-parent families in Singapore, the petitioners recommend that these families should be equally supported to meet their basic needs, and should not be discriminated against.”
As such, he called on the government to address such issues by adopting a more inclusive housing policy, instead of just a discretionary case-by-case method.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Social and Family Development said that they have taken note of the petitioners’ feedback.
“Our public housing policies aim to address the needs of Singapore citizen households, without undermining self-reliance and family support,” they said in a joint statement.
They also recognise that each case is unique and the help required varies depending on a family’s situation. “This includes helping households headed by single parents to buy a flat within their means, or providing rental housing for those with no other housing options or have no family support.”
Other aid provided for struggling families include counselling, employment support and financial assistance.