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 She has degree but can't afford flat

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Max
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Male Number of posts : 463
Age : 34
Location : Marine Parade
Registration date : 2009-01-03

PostSubject: She has degree but can't afford flat   Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:01 am

She has degree but can't afford flat



DEGREE-HOLDER Ramna Kamaludi, 29, had to sell her five-room Woodlands flat in 2007 when she could no longer afford the monthly mortgage payments. With her husband and three children, aged 5, 2, and 1, she moved in with her brother's family. Madam Ramna used to work as a security officer, taking home about $1,800.

Her husband of five years worked odd jobs, earning up to $800 a month. Things got difficult in September 2005 when Madam Ramna quit her job.

She had just got a degree in mass communications from a private college, but her job hunt in the media industry proved futile.

It was hard for her husband, Mr Shaik Mohd Ahmad Jamil, 31, to get a full-time job because he has a criminal record. She was paying $300 in cash for her mortgage, and $200 through her CPF. After she lost her job, the family borrowed from friends and relatives.

In 2006, she returned to work as a part-time trainer doing ad-hoc projects for schools. In a good month, she was able to take home about $300.

She said: 'We started to incur debts of thousands of dollars because we were borrowing from people.

'Sometimes my husband couldn't work because of an old sports injury. He couldn't afford to go to the doctor to seek treatment.'

Later that year, she got a full-time job as a secretary earning about $2,000, but the company closed down early last year. Unable to cope, Madam Ramna approached the North West Community Development Council (CDC), which helped her with $425 every month from February to April 2007.

Madam Ramna sold their flat in April that year, and moved to her brother's five-room flat at Woodlands.

In addition to her family of five, her brother, 24, and his wife, her mother, and her younger brother, 22, a national serviceman, live there.

Can't rent
Madam Ramna cannot get a place of her own because of HDB's 30-month debarment rule, which prevents property owners from applying for a rental flat immediately after selling their home. In June last year, she found contract work for three months as a customer service officer earning $1,200 a month.

Since the contract ended in August, she has not been able to get any work. She said: 'I have been calling 30 to 40 companies every day, for jobs ranging from secretarial to customer service to public relations.'

The CDC is helping her with $400 a month from January to March. They are also helping in her job hunt, and she is currently waiting replies for two positions. For a month, Mr Shaik Mohd has been working as a waiter earning about $800.

The family were referred to the New Hope Shelter recently, but Madam Ramna rejected a place there.

She said: 'There are others who are not even able to stay with relatives, sleeping at parks and void decks.

'I'll gladly give up my place for them.'

New steps to help the needy
Measures to reduce the number of defaults on home loans were revealed in Parliament on Friday.

* Home owners can defer monthly payments for up to six months and reduce the monthly instalments.
* HDB officers will provide financial counselling and work out sustainable solutions for home owners in financial difficulties.
* HDB will help these people sell and downgrade their flats. In more dire circumstances, HDB will exercise more flexibility in granting a loan for another purchase, even for downgraders
* Interim rental housing will enable home owners to sell their flats immediately, and buy new, smaller flats. While these are being built, they can move into rental flats, which are priced below market rate.

This article was first published in The New Paper on February 09, 2009.
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