Over 130 low-income elderly to relocate from rental flats in Sin Ming, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Over 130 low-income elderly to relocate from rental flats in Sin Ming

This article is more than 12 months old

Ms Siti Juleiha Jumari hopes that she and a neighbour - who she calls her "godmother" - can be relocated to the same Housing Board block when they move out of Block 26 in Sin Ming.

The two, who occupy different one-room units on the second floor in the rental block, are among more than 300 residents, 130 of whom are low-income elderly, who have to shift to other rental blocks by September next year.

Marymount MP Gan Siow Huang told the media in May that the relocation would enable residents to enjoy better facilities as Block 26 is an old development.

Residents, who have started to move to areas such as Bendemeer and other parts of Sin Ming from July this year, can state their preference on where their new homes are.

Block 26, which stands alone in a quiet industrial area, has been home for decades for many of the residents.

When The Straits Times visited the block in May, the void deck was bustling with residents chit-chatting and eating together at the tables and benches.

Things had not changed when ST visited in June, with residents saying they would miss the close-knit friendships forged over the years through interactions at the void deck and along the corridor.

Madam Faridah Mohd Isa, 66, who has lived in the block for 40 years, said she has formed friendships with most of her neighbours.

But one connection that is especially priceless is the one with her "god-daughter" Siti, who moved into the block 20 years ago.

The pair grew close after Madam Faridah would stop by the younger woman's home every day to ask about her day. Now, it has become routine for Madam Faridah to call out across the corridor for Ms Siti, 33, to bring an empty plate and get her home-cooked dinner.

Ms Siti, an outlet manager at a retail store, said: "I call her every day even when I am at work. I know almost everything about her, she sees me as her best friend. I treat her better than I treat my own mother."

The two said their top priority now is to make sure they are assigned to the same block once they are relocated - preferably to Woodlands.

Residents said they have not been told what will happen to the block but ST understands that the land will still be used for residential purposes, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Masterplan 2019.

Meanwhile, Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre Community Services has partnered CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF) to help the low-income residents relocate.

CHF will provide financial support of more than $165,000, including buying furniture and appliances for their new homes. CapitaLand staff and tenant volunteers will help the seniors pack and relocate, as well as take them shopping.

Madam Faridah said it would be sad to no longer see some of the familiar faces around her once she moves out.

"We can still keep in touch on WhatsApp, but some of the elderly here are not that tech-savvy, it won't be the same," she added.