After 8 years living in a rental flat, Madam Zaidah Ismail, 57, finally has a place to call her own – a flat with a flexi lease agreement.
Life after her divorce was tough. Mdm Zaidah had to contend with breast cancer while putting in long hours as a security guard.
She jumped at the opportunity when she first heard about Fresh Start in 2018. She opted for a 60-year lease. The flat cost about $141,000, including the resale levy, and she received $44,000 in grants. She was able to pay the purchase price in full.
Like Mdm Zaidah, Madam Lee Ah Mui, 53, who is divorced, is the proud owner of a 2-room flexi flat under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme.
After 12 years living in a rental flat, Mdm Lee moved into her new flat in Punggol in January with her two sons.
She bought the unit on a shorter lease of 50 years – paying about $122,000, including a resale levy – under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme. She also paid for the purchase in full.
“I’m glad I can give my sons a better environment now,” she said. “They were so excited to chip in with their own ideas for the renovation. Almost everything is new, so it really feels like a fresh start.” (Source: The Straits Times)
Many families living in rental flats do aspire to own a home and provide a better environment for their children, Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said.
“When I meet those who have purchased a flat, there is a sense of achievement and happiness… Our aim is to help families living in public rental flats achieve home ownership and inter-generational mobility, so their children can move up the social ladder,” said Dr Faishal.
Fresh Start Housing Scheme: second chance at owning a flat
In 2019, HDB’s home ownership support team was set up to provide more dedicated support for households like Madam Zaidah’s.
The team walks the journey with them, providing guidance and support every step of the way. Working hand-in-hand with them, the team guides them on their housing budget and flat options, and help them navigate the processes – from planning their flat purchase to key collection.
The team also checks in with them after they have moved in.
As each family’s circumstances are unique, the team strives to identify the targeted help they need, and work closely with partners such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Manpower, Community Link, and Family Service Centres, to offer personalised support.
As at December 2022, the team had reached out to about 1,400 rental households.