Did HDB help "Gladys" with her housing situation?
An online article, “Mother with 7-year old to be homeless” claimed that a divorcee named “Gladys” was in danger of becoming homeless because help was not forthcoming from HDB.
The article’s main allegations are that “Gladys” had been told by HDB to sell her matrimonial flat before she could apply for a new flat under the Build-To-Order or Sale of Balance Flats exercise. Believing this to be true, “Gladys” had sold her flat and so faced a homeless future. The article also claimed that HDB had offered “Gladys” a flat under the Interim Housing Scheme at a rental of $1,700 to $1,900 a month, which she could ill afford as an alternative solution.
The article contains many inaccuracies. The facts of the case are as clarified below:
HDB did not advise “Gladys” to sell her matrimonial flat, before she could apply for a new one under the Build-To-Order or Sale of Balance Flats exercise. There is no such rule requiring flat owners to sell their flat, before they can apply for another one under HDB’s sales exercises. An existing owner can apply for a flat under these exercises as long as they meet prevailing eligibility conditions and have fulfilled their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).
In February 2014, HDB had exercised flexibility and allowed “Gladys” to apply for a second subsidised flat in the subsequent sales exercises, even before she met the required 3-year waiting period after her divorce. HDB was prepared to accept her application, as long as she could produce the relevant documents during the flat selection phase.
The article had claimed that HDB had offered “Gladys” a rental flat under the Interim Rental Housing Scheme, at unaffordable rates. This is completely untrue. The fact is that HDB did not offer her interim rental housing, as “Gladys” had informed HDB that she would be staying with her relative upon the sale of her existing flat. HDB’s Interim Rental Housing Scheme is meant to help needy Singaporean families who need time to work out a long-term housing arrangement. Hence, the monthly rentals are kept affordable, ranging from $216 to $384. The range of $1,700 to $1,900 a month cited by the article is therefore also incorrect.
Readers may be happy to know that HDB has helped "Gladys" to buy a 3-room flat to live in with her daughter. This is a result of continuous reviews of "Gladys’" situation, after she approached HDB for assistance with supporting documents. HDB is always concerned about the housing situation of residents who find themselves in a bind. HDB has in place a set of assistance measures for those who genuinely need help.