Senior-friendly housing type to be launched in February BTO exercise

11 Dec 2020

Community Care Apartments, which cannot be resold or rented out, is sold with a subscription to a mandatory basic care package, which include 24-hour emergency monitoring and response, simple home fixes and basic health checks. Image: HDB

The Singapore government is set to launch a new type of public housing that features senior-friendly designs as well as subscription to care services in the February 2021 Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise, reported Channel News Asia (CNA)

Called Community Care Apartments, the flats will “offer seniors aged 65 and above an affordable housing option that integrates senior-friendly design features with care services that can be scaled according to care needs,” said the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in a joint statement and quoted by CNA. 

The flats, which cannot be resold or rented out, will be situated at Bukit Batok West Avenue 9.

Under the model, eligible seniors must buy a variable housing lease that range from 15 to 35 years and subscribe to a mandatory basic care package, which include 24-hour emergency monitoring and response, simple home fixes and basic health checks.

Buyers can opt to add on more advanced care services such as meal delivery, personal home care, medical transport, housekeeping and laundry.

In a Facebook post, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said the pilot will “broaden today’s options for seniors who require some care and support within their homes, but are still able to and wish to live on their own”.

With the new apartments, seniors can look “forward to living independently even as their care needs change, and enjoy more opportunities to stay active and take charge of their health”, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. 

The government will offer 160 flats that will be housed in a single block. Measuring 32 sq m, each flat will be equipped with senior-friendly fittings such as large bathrooms, wheelchair-friendly doors, slip-resistant flooring and grab bars. 

Recommended article: HDB EASE Programme: How to Apply and How Much Does it Cost?

The authorities revealed that the flats – which feature an open layout, with sliding partitions separating the bedroom and the living room – will also come with furnished kitchen as well as built-in wardrobes and cabinets to reduce renovation time.

A community manager will also be onsite to organize programmes aimed at facilitating social interaction. Moreover, residents can mingle in communal spaces of around 50 sq m on each floor.

They also enjoy priority admission to the nearby Bukit Batok Care Home if needed in the future. 

“Residents of the Community Care Apartments at Bukit Batok will also enjoy convenient access to a variety of retail, leisure, healthcare and public transport amenities that support seniors’ daily needs,” said the authorities. 

These include a community garden, hawker centre, the Bukit Batok polyclinic, wet markets and malls.

Applicants should have an average gross household income of not more than $14,000 per month and must be aged 65 and above. 

Those who have already received two public housing subsidies and who previously acquired HDB studio apartments or two-room flexi flats on short lease are no longer eligible for the flats.

Authorities noted that seniors “with more pressing care needs” will be given priority.

Although the flats cannot be resold or rented out, apartment owners who no longer need the units can return it to the HDB, which will refund the value of the flat’s remaining lease.

Suggested read: More Fitness Corners and Elderly-Friendly Facilities for Jalan Besar, Choa Chu Kang GRCs

The Community Care Apartments will be offered from $62,000 for units with 15-year lease. Aside from the cost of the unit, the price also covers the subscription for the basic service package. 

The flat lease should be paid fully upfront using the applicants’ Central Provident Fund balance and/or cash.

The authorities explained that buyers will also have to pay for stamp duties as well as legal and other fees for the flat acquisition.

The basic service package, on the other hand, may be paid either fully upfront or partially upfront while also paying a monthly fee of $50 throughout the flat lease. The fee will be subject to periodic review.

More details about the apartments will be revealed at an exhibition to be held from 14 December to 31 March at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

The showroom of the apartment will be available from 4 January 2021.

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