SINGAPORE – Singles can now apply for public rental flats without having to find a flatmate under a pilot model launched by the Housing Board on Friday (Dec 17).
The Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run model allows singles to apply for a rental flat individually to be paired up with a flatmate, unlike the existing Joint Singles Scheme (JSS) where singles have to apply for a unit with someone they know, such as a relative or friend.
Under the pilot model, a mix of one- and two-room HDB flats in two rental blocks – Blk 429A Bedok North Road and Blk 999A Buangkok Crescent – have been set aside.
Together, the two sites can house about 270 tenants.
The first batch of tenants is expected to move in by end of next month, said HDB.
Social service agency Good News Community Services has been appointed via an open tender to run the pilot model at both sites for three years.
It will match singles with a flatmate and manage the flat-sharing arrangements.
HDB said the flats will come with partitions installed to provide more privacy for the tenants.
General household furnishings and appliances such as wardrobes, water heater, washing machine, and refrigerator, will also be provided within each flat for tenants’ use.
Before allocating the flats under the new model, Good News Community Services will first interview prospective tenants to assess their personalities and needs.
A social worker will be assigned to pair the tenants up, taking into account their gender, religion, ethnicity, spoken languages, age, lifestyle habits, employment as well as daily routines.
“A higher degree of similarity improves the chances of tenants living together amicably,” said HDB.
The social worker will also assess the “potential benefits that the pairing can bring to the tenants in terms of peer support”, added HDB.
“As many of these tenants have no family support, they can benefit from the companionship and support offered by their flatmate.”
Good News Community Services will also conduct befriending and bonding activities, regular check-ins with tenants and will also step in to mediate in case of disputes.
HDB will be calling for a tender next month for a third site in Bukit Batok under the pilot.
The Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run model was first announced by Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim during the debate over his ministry’s budget in March.
It serves as an alternative to the existing JSS model to help those who may not be able to find a flatmate on their own.
HDB said the arrangement for singles to share a flat is to help as many low-income Singaporeans who need a public rental flat as possible, within the board’s limited resources.
“It also enables companionship and mutual support, which is especially important for older tenants,” said HDB.
Rents under the pilot model range from $13 to $102.50 per tenant, depending on the tenant’s monthly income and whether they are first- or second-time applicants.
Tenants will also have to pay their share of service and conservancy charges and utilities.
To quality under either models, tenants must be Singaporeans who are at least 35 years old, with no family support and no other housing options.
Singles who are interested to apply for a unit under the pilot model can do so via the website.
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