July 30th, 2013

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.

a_block_of_hdb_fla_galleryfullThe 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.

One Comment ...

  1. Evangeline Kang

    I totally agree!!! im a single mum to a 18month plus child. I have been trying to apply for a rental unit with my son as my dad cannot house me n my son anymore . I had applied for the rental housin since last year but always been rejected. I even went to my mp and went on to the PM office facebook but the reply from hdb is still the same. I do not have the proper family nucluer with my son. The thing is i too don’t want my son to grow up in a single family but i cant do anything if the man decided to ditch me and leave.im too a victim. I really need help. Distress single mum