101,000 HDB flats benefited from Home Improvement Programme since 2007

A staff member shows the new rubbish chute door of Mr Chew Ang Moh's flat.
A staff member shows the new rubbish chute door of Mr Chew Ang Moh's flat.ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM
Optional Home Improvement Programme (HIP) components include those under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, and improvements such as toilet upgrades and a new front entrance gate.
Optional Home Improvement Programme (HIP) components include those under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, and improvements such as toilet upgrades and a new front entrance gate.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Home Improvement Programme (HIP) recipient Chew Ang Moh showing the new toilet bowl and grab bars in his spruced-up toilet on Dec 28, 2017.
Home Improvement Programme (HIP) recipient Chew Ang Moh showing the new toilet bowl and grab bars in his spruced-up toilet on Dec 28, 2017. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A supervisor inspects the tiles in the toilet of Ease / HIP recipient Mr Chew Ang Moh,  who had his HDB flat at Jurong West Street 41 spruced up recently.
A supervisor inspects the tiles in the toilet of Ease / HIP recipient Mr Chew Ang Moh, who had his HDB flat at Jurong West Street 41 spruced up recently.ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM
Mr Chew Ang Moh said the anti-slip tiles and grab bars gave him more confidence to move on his own in the shower.
Mr Chew Ang Moh said the anti-slip tiles and grab bars gave him more confidence to move on his own in the shower.ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM
Mr Chew Ang Moh uses the newly installed grab bars in his spruced-up toilet.
Mr Chew Ang Moh uses the newly installed grab bars in his spruced-up toilet. ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Her home may be more than 30 years old, but retired factory worker Chan Wing Ching, 65, says it has received a new lease of life - twice.

Last month, her flat in Jurong West Street 51 was "transformed" and had its tiles, toilet, grille gate and door replaced, among other things.

"Ours was a squat toilet, and now I have a proper toilet bowl," she said. "It is almost as if I have a new house."

The cherry on top? She spent about $600 - only 5 per cent of the total cost. The rest was borne by the Housing Board, as part of its Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

"At this price, I find it very worth it," she said with a laugh.

Her flat is among some 101,000 where works have been completed since HIP was launched in 2007. Works are in progress for another 139,400 homes.

The remaining eligible flats will be selected by end-2018, and by the end of the programme, more than 300,000 flats would have benefited.

HIP was introduced to address common maintenance problems related to ageing flats, such as spalling concrete and the replacement of pipe sockets with new laundry drying racks. These "essentials" are paid for by the Government.

Optional HIP components include those under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, and improvements such as toilet upgrades and a new front entrance gate. The Government subsidises up to 95 per cent of the cost of these for Singaporean households.

Only flats built up to 1986 that have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme are eligible for HIP. Works proceed when at least 75 per cent of a block's eligible households have voted in favour of it.

In August, another HDB resident, retired driver Chew Ang Moh, 70, went through the HIP, and was also eligible for Ease.

The scheme, launched in July 2012, allows HDB home owners to equip their flats with elder-friendly fittings such as grab bars, slip-resistant tiles and ramps.

Mr Chew said the anti-slip tiles and grab bars gave him more confidence to move on his own in the shower.

The HDB said some 52,000 households have applied for Ease directly, while another 97,000 opted for it through HIP.

Citizen households with a family member aged 65 and above qualify for Ease. They also qualify if a member is aged between 60 and 64 but needs help with at least one of six activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing or feeding.

As of March, the Government has spent about $1.93 billion on HIP and $40 million on Ease, up from $1.47 billion and $30 million respectively last March.