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The City of Cape Town will commence with its very first inner-city transitional housing project once Council has approved the proposal later this week. The development will be located in Salt River, less than 5 km from the Cape Town central business district.

The City’s Mayoral Committee this afternoon, 25 July 2017, recommended to Council that the Pickwick site, located on the corner of Pickwick and Copperfield Roads in Salt River, be developed for transitional or semi-permanent housing.

One of the City’s social housing partners will commence with the proposed development once Council has approved the proposal at its Council meeting on Thursday, 27 July 2017.

The development of the Pickwick site represents a new approach in terms of how the City intends to tackle the urgent demand for housing by those families who are displaced or evicted from their homes due to rapid development, among others.

When the Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) was established in January this year, we said that the City has turned a corner in our approach to affordable housing.Part of the undertaking is to, within our means, provide those who are facing emergency situations with safe, decent, and affordable temporary housing as close as possible to where they are working, or at least as close as possible to where they can get onto a bus, train or minibus-taxi.

I told Council during my budget speech in May this year that the City has put an end to the development of so-called temporary relocation areas – or TRAs – on the outskirts of the city, far away from jobs and other opportunities.

The Pickwick Transitional Housing Project confirms our intent to honour this commitment. It is the first development to provide transitional housing in the inner city, and will be funded from the TDA’s Communal Residential Unit budget.

The estimated cost is R11,1 million to develop a facility with 42 rooms and 85 beds, communal bathrooms and kitchens, as well as access control to ensure the safety of those residing in the facility.

The facility will be developed on City-owned land. Once completed, a private non-profit agency will be contracted to manage the facility on behalf of the City.

The development will provide households who have been displaced or evicted from their homes with temporary or semi-permanent housing while opportunities for permanent housing are procured.

Those living in the facility will sign lease agreements and pay monthly rent based on what they can afford. The City will subsidise the operational costs through its Rental Indigent Scheme applicable to Council tenants.

I also want to confirm that there are more transitional housing projects in the pipeline – in Salt River, as well as in other areas in Cape Town. Our officials are conducting an audit of City-owned land parcels in Goodwood and Bellville. We will confirm the locations once we have established that the potential sites are suitable to include transitional housing.

Last week I announced that we have identified 10 City-owned sites in the city centre, Salt River and Woodstock to be used for affordable housing opportunities for those who need it most.

Three of these sites – two erven along Pine Road and six erven along Dillon Lane and the Salt River Market in Albert Road – have already been allocated to social housing institutions. The statutory land-use applications are under way and we expect construction to commence in due course.

Apart from sites intended for transitional housing and social housing mentioned above, we have also identified five City-owned land parcels for the development of affordable housing opportunities in Salt River, Woodstock, and the inner city.

We are moving away from a piecemeal development approach towards a Precinct Development Approach which is to be applied first in these inner-city areas. This is a strategic change in line with the City’s transit-oriented development strategic framework that emphasises the need for densification and intensification in transit-accessible precincts – thus, well-located precincts that are close to public transport and employment opportunities.

Importantly, from now on the City will also apply an investment-like approach, where appropriate, in developing City-owned sites for housing opportunities.

This means we will, as is the case with the Foreshore Freeway Precinct, make City-owned land parcels available to prospective bidders from the private sector for development.

The prospectus for the development of the five sites in the city centre, Woodstock and Salt River will be issued within the next two months, save to say that it will encourage ‘tenure-blind’ affordable housing developments where the design of the overall development is integrated into the surrounding area and does not distinguish between the differences in income and tenure within the development.

We want these developments to offer a mixture of affordable housing typologies, including social housing, combined with market-related housing (for those who can pay).

In some instances, we would also encourage mixed-use developments – thus, a combination of residential and retail and commercial units so that the business units can cross-subsidise the affordable housing units, in so doing ensuring the long-term sustainability of the development.

The details of the sites and all of the other information that bidders may need in devising and submitting their proposals will be presented in the prospectus.

Again, once issued, the approach will mirror the one that we have followed in the proposed development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct.

The precinct-led development in Woodstock and Salt River is a pivotal introduction to a customer-centric approach to housing delivery in line with the City’s new Organisational Development and Transformation Plan. It is a new way of doing business which we will apply in all of the other precincts where we intend to provide affordable and inclusionary housing on City-owned land.

The prospectus will be a public document so that all residents and interested and affected parties can have access to all of the available information.

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