In this second part of our series on alternative housing solutions (see part one here), we want to look at ways to co-exist with our foreign manpower.

Now, it’s no secret that the Singapore government fully believes that we need foreign talent and manpower to shore up our economy and production capacity. This can easily be deduced from their announcements about ramping up the foreign population pool.

This of course triggers worries about lack of infrastructure and housing to support so many people. This challenge is on a whole new scale compared to what our forefathers faced, and thus will require a whole different approach to tackle.

In part one, we talked about renting as a housing option. Expanding on that even more is the idea of dorming. Today, there are many dormitories for housing low-wage foreign workers in Singapore. These are commercially-run or more often, set up by the employers of these workers, usually large construction firms or factories.

By renting out dormitory-style housing, the government can create more housing for foreign talent, without crowding citizens out of the low-end and mid-range HDB market. A sufficiently-tiered dormitory scheme could possibly cater to middle-income foreigners, and even small families.

Properly integrating this with the HDB rental scheme mentioned in part one would create a syngergistic system where housing units could be flexibly shifted in usage to cater for a shortfall in a particular area or category. And this would still leave the land in the hands of the government and Singapore.

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