Grants help family obtain their own flat

Ms Soh with her sons Brandon (left) and Bryan in the three-room Build-To-Order flat in Rivervale Crescent that they moved into last November. Ms Loh was able to afford the home with help from Central Provident Fund and Home Ownership Plus Education S
Ms Soh with her sons Brandon (left) and Bryan in the three-room Build-To-Order flat in Rivervale Crescent that they moved into last November. Ms Loh was able to afford the home with help from Central Provident Fund and Home Ownership Plus Education Scheme housing grants.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

When office administrator Soh Jie Ling divorced her husband nine years ago, she had to move out of her in-laws' Sengkang flat.

She lived with her parents and younger brother for three years, but when they downsized their home, the single mother had to find a new place with her two sons.

She ended up moving into a two-room rental flat in Marine Terrace, sharing a double-decker bed with her children, who were then aged four and six.

Rent was $62 a month, but it later became a struggle when she was diagnosed with Wilson's disease, a genetic disorder in which copper builds up in one's tissues.

Her condition led to liver disease, which meant she could not work full-time at that point and could earn only $800 a month.

"I felt very inferior at the time - I wanted to get my own flat but I could not," said Ms Soh in Mandarin. "I've always believed you can have not enough to eat, but you cannot not have a roof over your head."

Her wish to buy her own flat was finally fulfilled in 2012, when she applied for a three-room Build-To-Order unit in Sengkang with the help of government grants. The home would have cost $190,000, but she received $60,000 in Central Provident Fund housing grants.

She also got $50,000 in housing grants through the Home Ownership Plus Education Scheme, which provides financial aid to low-income families with no more than two children. She and her sons moved into their new Rivervale Crescent home last November.

"It was a huge accomplishment to finally have a permanent home," said Ms Soh, who now takes home $1,700 each month.

Yeo Sam Jo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'Grants help family obtain their own flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe