SINGAPORE – Madam Zaida Ismail, who lived in a public rented apartment after her divorce, worked long hours as a security guard and amassed her Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings so she could buy a house.
In 2019, she was able to purchase a two-room housing board flexi flat in Punggol under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme and move in at a more affordable price. This was introduced in 2016 to give renting households who previously purchased a subsidized flat the option to purchase a second HDB flat on a shorter lease.
“I was also diagnosed with breast cancer, so I struggled quite a bit after my divorce. I worked even on weekends and public holidays,” said Madame Zaida.
The 57-year-old is now a freelance massage therapist and lives with her 20-year-old son, a student. She has two older children, her 32 years old and her 33 years old.
“When I heard about Fresh Start in 2018, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Madame Zaida, who opted for the 60-year lease. It cost her about $141,000 including resale taxes, and she received her $44,000 grant.
“It was like a weight off my shoulders. After living in a rented apartment for eight years, I can now save for retirement just by thinking about my monthly expenses,” he says. Added Madame Zaida, who could.
National Development Minister Mohammed Faishal Ibrahim said the HDB’s homeownership support team was set up in 2019 to provide more dedicated support to households like Madam Zaida.
The team guides rental households through the homeownership process, from planning a purchase to collecting keys, while considering factors such as family and financial stability.
“When I meet someone who has bought an apartment, I feel a sense of accomplishment and happiness. It’s about allowing it to grow, it’s a ladder,” said Dr. Faishal.
As of December 2022, the team has reached out to approximately 1,400 rental households.
Dr. Faishal said some tenants may find it difficult to buy a home because they don’t have enough funds in their CPF savings accounts. “This is where the Community Link program comes in. Alternate employment options can be shared with his CPF donation to increase homeownership stability and opportunities.”
Madame Zaida said it was always planned to have her own house. Her rented apartment is cramped and inconvenient for her children.
“Now I have more built-ins, such as TV consoles and kitchen cabinets. And if anything happens to me, my kids will have a place to live,” she added. .