Visiting house-proud residents at the unveiling of Everton Park housing estate on 8 November 1965.
Housing the nation
In the 1950s and 1960s, Singapore faced an acute housing shortage. The majority of Singaporeans lived in crowded, racially-segregated squatter settlements or slums, with poor sanitation.
Mr Lee appointed Mr Lim Kim San as the first Chairman of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in 1960. Mr Lim laid the foundations for a world-class public housing system in Singapore.
Mr Lee championed public home ownership so as to give every Singaporean a stake in the country. He also believed home ownership would give Singaporean families an asset and a means of wealth accumulation. HDB estates, or the “heartlands”, brought together people of different backgrounds and created a sense of community.
Today, the country has one of the highest home ownership rates in the world, with 90% of Singaporeans owning their homes, the vast majority of them HDB flats.