Should singles be treated as lesser citizens in housing policy?
A Roundtable Dialogue on the housing challenges faced by unmarried people in Singapore was held at the AWARE Centre on 29 July.
Entitled ‘Housing Singaporeans – Should unmarried people be lesser citizens?’, the roundtable began with a thought-provoking presentation by the Singles Sub-committee of AWARE on the results of its research into this topic.
The presentation was followed by an engaging discussion by the participants on the right of unmarried people (who comprise nearly 35 per cent of Singapore’s population) to purchase or rent public housing from the Housing Development Board (HDB).
Under the current policies of HDB, single people below the age of 35 are unable to purchase or rent public housing, or access housing grants provided by the government. Public schemes favour heterosexual nuclear couples with children, leaving many unmarried people with few housing options.
Participants at the roundtable shared their personal experiences and stories, and offered their diverse views on the topic. For example, one of the issues raised was that many unmarried people are forced into homelessness or severe financial hardship by the current housing policies. Single mothers and divorcees, especially, suffer from policies that block their access to public housing.
The AWARE team emphasised that ‘singles’ are not a homogenous group – those who never married, divorced, disabled singles, homosexuals unable to get legally married, and many others are in the category and fall through the cracks of HDB’s current housing policies.
Former AWARE President Kanwaljit Soin also attended the event and offered her own opinions on how the policies should be modified to accommodate unmarried people.
The roundtable talk was a great success, as evidenced by the enthusiastic dialogue, which carried on beyond the allotted time and continued after the event.
Interested? Join in our next roundtable talk by Constance Singam, an author and civil society activist, on 17 August. Click here to register.