Blessing or depressing? People react to newly launched dorm rooms for low-income singles in Singapore

In a bid to alleviate the rising cost of housing and rental, the Housing Development Board (HDB) launched a dorm room-style public rental scheme specifically for low-income singles in Singapore.

Nice move, right? Well, take a look at the pics and decide for yourself.

If the words ‘drab’, ‘depressing’, ‘dystopian’ or even ‘prison’ crosses your mind, a lot of people agree with you.

In the comments on a post by Channel News Asia, many shared their thoughts on the pilot scheme by HDB.

Some were quick to praise the initiative, saying that it is an “improvement” for those low-income singles who rather not stay with another person in a rental flat or said that it was a “first step towards independence.”

However, others were more critical of the state of the accommodation.

Low income does not mean no dignity

While it’s encouraging to have more options now when it comes to housing, surely some more effort can be put into the design and layout of the space – and some of the comments brought this up.

It’s the nature of housing that makes it such an important issue. So much stems from housing – it is the link between one’s dignity and their motivation to survive in the world.

Others were also concerned about the shared toilet sitch.

Photo: <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reddit;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Reddit</a>
Photo: Reddit

These rooms will take over the former Anderson Junior College hostel located in Ang Mo Kio – but partitioned so that there would be 480 single rooms.

You can see in the pictures that the partitioning has awkwardly created a weird half-window situation, as seen here:

Photo: Instagram/Desmond Lee
Photo: Instagram/Desmond Lee

Rooms are also sparsely furnished with a single bed frame, desk, chair and a box refrigerator. On top of that, the bathroom and kitchen facilities are communal – there will be about 12 people to one bathroom and 24 to a shared kitchen.

Communal laundry spaces are also available, as well as ‘activity rooms’ for them singles to mingle.

‘Reek of privilege’

Say what you will of the spaces but at the end of the day, it will put a roof over someone’s head and some commenters truly want you to understand that.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee who was at the launch said that while they are “making do” with the existing set-up for the pilot scheme, they will continue to test and make changes when needed.

He said, “In a year or two, when we have better data, we’ll have a better sense of whether this kind of model will work. Then we may mainstream this as part of our rental flat offerings, including new built rental flats, as well as retrofitting existing or older rental types as well.”

Currently, the system only allows singles who are looking for public rental flats to apply with another applicant, or get matched with another single applicant.

While HDB is still working out the rental rates for these rooms, the current rent for one-room public flats range from S$26 to S$205, and it depends on the individual’s income level and other eligibility criteria.

Get a room

As with everything, the scheme is a work in progress, according to Lee – and we can only wait for the ‘data’ before coming out with new offerings.

Will a room like this inspire and motivate you in this economy?

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