The Straits Times says

Bringing families closer to elders

New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

Last week's Budget underlined what has long been the bedrock of social planning in Singapore. This is that public housing is not only about putting a collective roof over people's heads but is also about ensuring the transmission of practices and institutions that can sustain society's ability to reproduce its values and structures. The enhanced Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will strengthen financial support for family members who wish to live with or near one another. For families buying a resale flat to live with their parents or children, the PHG has been raised to $30,000, while those buying a resale flat near their parents or children will continue to receive a PHG of $20,000. This move reflects the usefulness of supply-side measures in producing desired social outcomes. In this case, the objective is to keep families together as far as possible.

In a sense, Singapore is coming back full circle to the times when married children habitually lived with the their parents because of the shortage and prices of alternative housing. That familial environment, of course, was not always ideal when space was cramped and personal dynamics took on a daily life of their own. What is different now is that proximity is becoming a matter not of necessity but of choice. Affordability being a critical factor in housing decisions, the enhanced PHG seeks to make it financially easier for families to live together or close enough. It also eases earlier criteria by clarifying that nearness means living within 4km. This opens up a larger pool of resale flats to choose from.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline Bringing families closer to elders. Subscribe