Singapore

Govt to build HDB blocks with both rental and sold flats

To tackle growing inequality and stratification, the Government is "going one step further" by building rental and purchased flats within the same block, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

Currently, there are no Housing Board blocks designed to have both rental and sold flats.

This is changing with three Build-to-Order blocks under construction in Woodlands, Bukit Batok and Sengkang, which will feature such integration from the outset.

Speaking on day four of the debate on the President's Address, Mr Wong outlined his ministry's efforts to build a better city that is more innovative, inclusive and resilient.

He said: "We have been building more rental flats with newer, better designs, alongside the sold flats in various HDB towns.

"This means that families grow up in the same neighbourhood, and the residents share the same common areas and facilities. Now, we are going one step further."

There were around 58,000 rental flats as of March last year.

On Wednesday, Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) voiced his concern that standalone rental flats are "sometimes built at the fringe of the housing estates", and run the danger of becoming ghettos.

In his speech yesterday, Mr Wong said an outstanding city is one that is not only economically vibrant but also socially inclusive.

"Our housing and urban plans must continue to push back against the growing pressures of inequality and social stratification. We cannot just leave things to chance, we must deliberately plan for a more equal and inclusive society," said Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance.

In addition, Mr Wong said that the Government is also doing more to help families living in rental flats.

It supported about 1,000 households last year with housing grants and new programmes like the Fresh Start Housing Scheme. This helped rental households become homeowners, he said.

Besides families in rental flats, Mr Wong said the elderly living in studio or two-room Flexi apartments must also be taken care of.

He highlighted Kampung Admiralty, a development that integrated these flat types with community services, medical facilities, and shared spaces.

The complex officially opened on May 12, and more of such kampungs will be planned in other HDB towns.

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