HDB launched the Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run (JSS-OR) Pilot on 17 December 2021. Not to be confused with the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS), the JSS-OR program is an alternative model that allows for singles to submit an application for rental housing, without first having to find a flatmate.
In contrast, the JSS program requires you to submit both your name as well as another occupier in order to qualify. You can apply with someone you know, such as a friend or relative.
Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run Pilot
Under the JSS-OR Pilot, individual applicants will submit a comprehensive dating (ahem, personality) profile including their gender, age, ethnicity, spoken language and living habits. They will then be introduced to their new flatmates based on these factors.
Kinda like the popular Netflix show Married at First Sight, except you’ll be saying “I do” to living with a complete stranger in either a 1- or 2-room flat. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it?
During the Committee of Supply debate in 2021, Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the sharing of flats “enables companionship and mutual support”.
But don’t fret, you won’t be sharing a bed. Each unit comes with partitions to accommodate two to three persons per flat. It’s also move-in ready – general household furnishings and appliances such as wardrobes, water heaters, washing machines and refrigerators come pre-installed – saving you multiple trips to your nearest Ikea.
As it is still a pilot program, there were a total of only 276 applications and 109 flats up for grabs. The current sites are at Blk 429A Bedok North Road and Blk 999A Buangkok Crescent
Netizens divided over program
When HDB unveiled the news in a Facebook post on 12 March, there were many divided opinions among netizens.
Some compared it to their army bunks or even a prison cell, noting the lack of space and privacy.
There’s a noticeable lack of privacy, with a large gap at the top of the partition separating the sleeping corners of two tenants.
If one flatmate decides to stay up to read or turn on the television, the other would be able to see the light and hear the noise through the partition.
Thoughtful suggestions were given, such as installing full partitions with doors so tenants can enjoy more privacy.
A comment pointed out the partitions might be meant for the installation of ceiling fans, and suggested hanging up curtains to give more privacy.
Other people said that potential problems might arise, such as disagreements over hygiene, utility usage and potential crime, which may exacerbate any existing health issues the renters have.
To counter this, HDB has appointed social service agency Good News Community Services to mediate any disagreements and conduct befriending and bonding activities. Check-ins on the tenants will also be carried out regularly.
It’s been noted that these flats were good options for the homeless and elderly. They can have a roof over their head and easy access to daily amenities and necessities by renting these flats at a highly subsidised rate.
More about the JSS-OR pilot
Eligibility for both the JSS scheme and JSS-OR pilot are exactly the same. Both you and your listed occupier of the flat must be:
• Singapore Citizens
• At least 35 years old
• Single and unmarried (or divorced and legally separated with spouse with legal documents)
• Widowed or orphaned (at least 21 years old at the time of application)
• Total household gross income should not exceed S$1,500 per month
If you have children who are assessed to be able to provide you accommodation both physically and financially, you’ll also not be eligible for the program.
What’s the difference between the existing JSS scheme and the JSS-OR pilot?
There’s only one: Under the JSS scheme, singles must have a joint applicant in mind before submitting both profiles for approval. Alternatively, they can approach HDB for a listing of other eligible tenants.
On the other hand, the JSS-OR pilot allows for singles to apply individually. They will then be assigned a flatmate based on compatible characteristics.
Pilot program going well
Around 1,400 submitted their applications. As of 8 March this year, around 90 singles have been accepted into the program.
Associate Professor Faishal said the pilot was progressing well and moved-in tenants were generally able to live amicably with each other.
A third site for the pilot has been proposed at Block 465A Bukit Batok West Ave 8, with 50 units allocated for around 120 tenants.
HDB is expected to award the tender for the Bukit Batok site in Q2 this year.
Would you apply for the JSS-OR rental scheme? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.
If you found this article helpful, check out HDB grants for singles and Below 35, single and desperate to move out.
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