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Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore
The Ministry of National Development established the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Currently, HDB is Singapore’s public housing authority. Its general functions are clearing the squatters and slums of the 1960s and resettling residents into low-cost state-built housing. They go beyond the planning and development of Singapore’s housing estates. They build homes as well as commercial, recreational, and social amenities to create a quality living environment for all. Various amenities are also built for the convenience of the residents.
In 1959, the People’s Action Party (PAP) pledged during its election campaign that it would provide low-cost housing for the poor if elected. It recognised that housing required urgent attention and built it’s campaign around it. When it won and formed the newly elected government, it took immediate action to solve the housing shortage. The government passed the Housing & Development Act of 1960, which replaced the existing Singapore Improvement Trust with the HDB.
History of Housing and Development Board
The HDB was established on February 1st, 1960 during our nation’s housing crisis. The housing shortage was further aggravated by the low construction rates and massive damage caused by World War II. It was noted in the British Housing Committee Report that Singapore had “one of the world’s worst slums — ‘a disgrace to the civilised community’.” It was tasked with providing sanitary living conditions to replace the unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements. It was the HDB’s priority to build as many low-cost housing units as possible. Thus, the Five-Year Plan was introduced. Initially, the houses built were meant to be rented out to the low-income group. To enable this group to buy instead of rent their flats, the Home Ownership for the People Scheme was introduced. This has provided financial security to home owners while it also acted as a hedge against inflation. The people were later allowed to use their Central Provident Fund money for down payments. These efforts however were insufficient to convince the people living in squatter settlements to move into these flats. It was only after the Bukit Ho Swee Fire in 1961, that the HDB’s efficiency and earnestness won over the people. We delivered, and 21,000 flats were built in less than 3 years. Within a decade of our formation, 54,000 flats had been built.
Today, 82% of Singaporeans live in public housing provided by the HDB. The HDB does not only build houses but they go an extra mile to build the quality environment in which the people could enjoy a quality lifestyle. HDB caters for all kinds of people, be it a family, a couple or even for singles.