Single parent Jamie upset after MND says no change to housing policy
Reactions to failure of housing policy reform petition
When Jamie (not his real name) heard that a parliamentary petition for more inclusive housing policies for single parents was submitted two months ago, he was hopeful.
The 45-year-old single parent of two has been living in a room in his parents' flat since his matrimonial flat was sold in late 2013.
The divorce was bitter, and he has been unable to get his ex-wife's consent to buy a subsidised HDB flat - something that is required of divorcees with joint custody of their kids.
Naturally, Jamie was dismayed when he heard the news on Wednesday that the Ministry of National Development (MND) had turned down the parliamentary petition to amend housing laws for unmarried and divorced parents.
"The (housing) policies should be more flexible towards single parents like me. I am a Singaporean, yet I am denied the chance of getting another flat," he told TNP yesterday.
In September, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng had presented a parliamentary petition on behalf of seven single parents, asking for the authorities to recognise unmarried parents and their children as a family nucleus, so that they can be eligible for public housing schemes.
The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) had submitted a statement of support.
On Wednesday, the MND said there are no plans to change the law and introduce exemptions for unmarried and divorced parents.
It said the Government is committed to housing the nation and ensuring the well-being of children. But achieving these goals does not require special legislative exemptions for single parents, it said, adding that the Housing Board already exercises flexibility in appropriate cases.
Yesterday, Aware expressed its disappointment over the decision. Its head of advocacy and research Jolene Tan said the Public Petitions Committee had failed to reach out directly to single parents, their children, academic experts and non-governmental organisations.