Socio-political activist Gilbert Goh shared the plight of this single-mother who lives in a rental apartment, who complained that the HDB “mercilessly” increased her rent by S$169, or 277 percent, after she got a S$300 salary bump.
Because of this, she complained that there’s no point working harder because the bulk of any extra money earned goes towards paying for rent.
This is how Goh described the incident:
“A young single mum with a primary school-going daughter related to us how HDB mercilessly increases their rent from $61 to $230 during renewal when her new job carries a salary which increases from $1200 to $1500 before CPF deduction.
All the joy of having a $300 pay jump from a new job became a curse when HDB upon renewal of her lease learnt of the good news and decided to increase her rent.
“What’s the point of us working so hard when what we earn extra goes to the rent hike? HDB is really sucking us dry!” she retorted.
She has to struggle with her take-home pay of $1100 paying everything in the household and having to also care for her young daughter who is fast growing up. With below-average educational qualification, the single mum is not in a position to better her earning potential in a society that prices diploma and degree above all else.
Her ex-husband has also just being released from prison and is thus unable to provide any maintenance for the family.
As HDB follows a rigid rental payment structure bases on household income, there is thus no incentive for the poor to actually go out and work hard as everything they earn in extra will go to the rent hike unless it’s a sizeable increase in amount.
The poor single mum will really have to struggle with the new huge rent hike of almost 200% and moreover as most utilities are slanted for a hike soon, she is facing a future with renewed dread and hopelessness that they will ever get out of the poverty cycle – not with the government trying to get a bite in everything that she is trying to earn in extra.”