SINGAPORE: The Red Dot United (RDU) has welcomed the Government’s new housing scheme pilot for singles, noting that it first called for such a policy last month.
The Housing Development Board (HDB) announced on Monday that a new form of public rental housing, known as the Single Room Shared Facilities scheme (SRSFS), will be launched at the end of 2023.
The aim is to provide singles with greater privacy while fostering a sense of community and low-income singles who are eligible for SRSFS will have their own private rooms and share kitchens and toilets.
The rooms will be equipped with basic furnishings, such as a single-size bed frame, wardrobe, table, chair, wall shelves, and a mini refrigerator, and each will be approximately 9 sq m. Tenants will need to purchase their own mattresses for hygiene reasons.
The pilot project will take place at the former Anderson Junior College hostel in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, which consists of two 11-storey blocks that can accommodate 480 tenants or 24 tenants per level.
The common kitchens will be outfitted with five cooking stoves, sinks, and cabinets, while the common bathrooms will have three shower cubicles and three to four toilets. Laundry and activity rooms within the compound will be shared, as well as repurposed dining areas from former study rooms.
SRSFS is different from the Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run method, which was introduced in late 2021 and pairs singles to share a semi-partitioned one- or two-room HDB flat.
RDU is among a number of groups that have supported the new initiative. The opposition political party noted that the scheme implements two proposals it had made in its housing policy paper that was released on 12 Feb.
The position paper, “Keeping Public Housing Affordable and Accessible for Current and Future Generations of Singaporeans,” called on the Government to use brownfield sites or existing urban areas for HDB development instead of clearing secondary forests. It also called for fit and proper accommodation to be made more readily available for singles.
The party specifically noted that the Government could repurpose unused former school sites for housing developments as homes for young people who are 30 years old and above.
Responding to questions that the shared facilities may be too cramped, RDU said on Facebook: “The most important thing as we see it is, it gives singles more options in living with dignity (more options are always better). And also, the project will function at a brownfield site which means that the environment will not be unnecessarily destroyed to provide human housing.”
Urging the Government to continue implementing proposals to better support singles, the party said: “The Government has accepted parts of our suggestions as presented in RDU’s Paper. We welcome the SRSFS pilot as it will give singles more options for housing, and the options for more housing are provided without carelessly destroying our precious environment.
“More housing options for singles will ease any burden on their parents. It will also address the perceived inability to find suitable housing, which is a deterrent to early marriage.
“In line with this, RDU also proposes that the minimum age be lowered under the various HDB housing schemes progressively, so that singles can eventually buy flats at age 30.”
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