BankBazaaar Singapore – January 2, 2018
SINGAPORE: In a recently released statement, HDB has reported that S$1.93 billion has been spent on refurbishment and improvement of older flats since the beginning of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in 2007, until March 2017. The statement has further clarified that the expenditure made under the HIP programme is available for HDB flats that were built up to 1986 and which weren’t covered under the Main Upgrading Programme.
It was further reported in the press release that S$40 million was spent under the Enhancement of Active Seniors (EASE) programme since its introduction in July 2012. This programme aims to retrofit older HDB flats with senior-friendly fittings and attachments like installation of handlebars and installation of slip-resistant tiles in toilets among other things.
Between the launch of the programme and November 2017, a total of 149,000 households applied for the scheme. While 97,000 flat owners had applied for the EASE scheme in conjunction with HIP, 52,000 had applied for it under the Direct Application scheme. Improvements under EASE are usually carried out together with HIP improvements because it leads to better cost rationalisation and convenience.
HIP aims to address common maintenance issues faced by owners of aging HDB flats. While the home owners have to pay for the combination of improvements they opt for, they only pay a fraction of the actual costs since the repairs and renovations are subsidised by up to 95%. Smaller flats tend to get heavier subsidies.
Applicants can opt for one or more of the components of improvement covered under HIP – Essential, Optional, and EASE.
The government takes care of the full expenditure incurred under the Essential Improvements, aimed to address structural deficiencies in a flat. Optional Improvement includes replacement of old doors and gates, of old refuse chute hoppers, and improvement of existing toilets. EASE aims to improve the living conditions of active senior citizens in the country.
According to the released statement, the government has completed work on 101,000 flats from 113 projects until 30 November 2018. While the renovations in another 139,400 flats from 139 projects are in various stages, the government plans to start selection of the remaining eligible flats from 2018.
HDB said in the same statement that the HIP programme will continue to be in force only when a minimum of 75% of households in a block votes in favour of the programme.