Inner-city social housing initiative launched

At least 4 000 lower-income Capetonian households are due to benefit from social housing opportunities less than five kilometres away from Cape Town central business district (CBD).

Yesterday, Wednesday September 13, the City of Cape Town launched its new inner-city social housing initiative at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Woodstock, bordering one of 11 City-owned sites identified for development.

The site – approximately 3.3 hectares – bordered by Copperfield, Pickwick roads and Nelson Mandela Boulevard, is metres away from taxi and bus routes, and will be made available to the private sector for the development of inclusionary and affordable housing opportunities.

According to the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), social housing provides good quality rental accommodation for the upper end of the low income market between R1 500 and R7 500, with the primary objective of urban restructuring, creating sustainable human settlements.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said: “The use of City-owned land in this context is to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification and at the same time showcase progressive thinking in terms of design, density and housing mixes,” she said.

When asked whether residents being evicted from Bromwell Street would be beneficiaries, Ms De Lille said the applicants will be taken from the City’s housing waiting list.

The launch happened at the same time 27 Bromwell Street residents were at the Western Cape High Court, regarding an order for the City to provide them with emergency accommodation near to where they currently live.

Acting Judge Mark Sher says he has to consider whether moving the residents to a so-called temporary relocation area near Atlantis is just and equitable.

Ms De Lille said the City had turned a corner in its approach to affordable housing and to reverse the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and forced removals which saw the majority of Capetonians of colour moved to settlements away from the inner-city, excluding them from economic opportunities.

“Apartheid also created a fragmented and unsustainable city, especially for the poor,” she said.

Ms De Lille said the inner city has become unaffordable to working-class residents due to increased land prices.

“As a result, residents and especially poorer residents are spending as much as 40 percent of their income on travelling costs,” she said.

She said residents from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Delft commute to the city daily adding to congestion on the roads.

Ms De Lille called on partners in the private sector, developers, social housing institutions, innovators and designers to think outside of the box to establish living environments “that embrace new, inclusive and creative solutions that mix housing types and tenure options as well as explore new technologies and designs”.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron said developing prime land for lower-income residents in Cape Town is a momentous occasion.

He said the development of the 11 City-owned sites in Salt River, Woodstock and the inner-city must also assist to preserve the social diversity and unique character of Woodstock and Salt River, in the midst of rapid urbanisation and rising property prices.

“It must expedite the provision of affordable housing on well-located land close to work opportunities and public transport,” he said.

Five of the sites will be made available to the private sector for the development of inclusionary and affordable housing opportunities, including:

An erf in Pickwick Road in Salt River

The Woodstock Hospital site, in Victoria Walk ,Woodstock, which is 18 411 square metres.

The Woodstock Hospital Park, opposite the hospital which must include a public open space and incorporate the crèche on site.

A site in New Market Street, Woodstock, measured at 8 483 square metres.

Canterbury Street in the inner-city, which is leased to Fruit and Veg City, at 2 730 square metres.

In addition, three sites have already been allocated to social housing institutions for the development of social housing opportunities.

The statutory land-use applications are under way and construction is due to start soon at two erven along Pine Road and six erven along Dillon Lane.

The Pine Road development will commence first, with the Dillon Lane development as the second phase

The Salt River Market in Albert Road will be a mixed-use development with a combination of affordable housing opportunities – from social housing (subsidised rental units for households with a monthly income of less than R15 000) to GAP rental housing (for households with a monthly income of between R3 500 and R20 000) to retail and office space.

A prospectus with the locations and specifications is due to be published on Friday September 29, for developers, innovators and partners to get on board and construction is envisaged for mid-next year.