Questioned in parliament over the financial status of the poor living in HDB rental flats, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong revealed that the poor have fallen further in financial hardship.
At least 10% of the poor, or 5,200, are unable to pay their subsidised rent to HDB. Over 1,300 households owed over S$3,000 in rent, and 2,600 households owed at least one year of rent arrears.
In the last three years, 159 families have been forced to downgrade from two-room flats to one-room flats due to rent arrears. Many of these families have 4 members squeezed into a single room apartment, with the minister refusing to give the numbers. Minister Lawrence Wong did not explain why is such overcrowding allowed.
The millionaire PAP minister made no mention of financial assistance for the poor in this coronavirus outbreak. The government last gave S$600 in April, and did not add cash handouts after extending the lockdown from May 4th to June 1st.