770 Bedok flats to get EASE Programme with HIP

Residents from 770 households in Blocks 134 to 139 Bedok North Street 2 will be the first HDB dwellers in Singapore to be offered the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme together with the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry, Lee Yi Shyan, made the announcement at the launch of the “HIP with EASE” programme at Bedok North Street 2.

From 1 July 2012, all HIP projects will be enhanced with additional optional items under the EASE programme. Residents may choose any combination of the improvements and pay only for the chosen improvements.

As for elderly and vulnerable residents who may wish to get the improvements earlier, or whose blocks do not qualify for HIP, HDB will start the direct applications in Bukit Merah and Kallang/Whampoa.

HDB will study the feedback over the next few months before rolling out direct applications to all estates.

About 16,000 households in Bukit Merah and Kallang/Whampoa stand to benefit and they can approach HDB to apply for the programme directly from 1 July.

The two towns have the highest number of households nationwide with elderly residents aged 65 and above.

Residents from Bukit Merah and Kallang/Whampoa can obtain the application form from any HDB Branch, or download it from HDB InfoWEB if they wish to apply directly for EASE.

The completed form must be submitted to the relevant HDB Branch managing their estate.

EASE was first announced in March 2012 to enhance the safety and comfort of elderly residents living in HDB flats.

The EASE programme was conceived by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) to look at issues faced by Singapore’s rapidly aging population, such as helping seniors age-in-place.

Mr Lee said: “One way to support our seniors is to make the HDB common areas and home environment safer, so that they feel confident to move around on their own.

“This is why HDB worked with MCA to develop EASE – to reduce the risk of falls amongst seniors at home, as falls could have a debilitating effect on their quality of life.”

Rental blocks will also be offered EASE when HDB implements it in the various towns, or when these blocks are slated for HIP.

EASE is expected to cost the government S$260 million and benefit about 130,000 HDB households islandwide.

EASE is highly subsidised by the government, with eligible flat owners only having to pay a small portion of the cost. If they opt for the full scope of works, the total cost will amount to about S$2,000 per flat.

However, the government will provide a subsidy of up to 95 per cent of the cost, and residents will only need to pay an amount ranging from S$100 to S$250, depending on their flat type.

Singapore Permanent Resident households can also enjoy EASE, but will have to pay the full cost for the selected improvements.

Residents who opt for the EASE programme through HIP can use their CPF Ordinary Account to pay for the improvements — an arrangement similar to HIP co-payments.

Those from Bukit Merah and Kallang/Whampoa who apply for EASE directly will have to make the co-payment in cash to the HDB-appointed contractor directly after works have been completed.

This is similar to the process for repairs of ceiling leaks and spalling concrete under HDB’s Goodwill Repair Assistance Scheme, which cannot be paid for by using CPF savings.

For rental units, the EASE Programme will be fully funded by the government.

Source : CNA – 2012 Jul 1

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