Own Haven Housing Association is on cue to get three social housing projects off the ground, after securing millions in grant funding from national Human Settlements Department.
The East London based Section 21 (non-profit) company’s managing director Andrew Wiseman says construction on two social housing projects in Southernwood is already underway.
With National Department of Human Settlements focusing on providing affordable accommodation in terms of their Breaking New Ground Policy, social housing institutions are given the opportunity to access government funding to provide those in need with affordable accommodation, says Wiseman.
“The amount granted by National to Own Haven Housing Association amounted to more than 50% of the national budget allocation for that particular (financial) year (2009/10) which Own Haven considers a huge achievement.”
A far cry from apartheid era urban design system which placed low cost housing on the outer bounds of cities, OHHA brings people closer to the cities while providing aesthetically pleasing dwelling units and providing solutions to the housing shortage in various municipalities.
Huge demand for affordable rental accommodation
“There is an enormous backlog within Buffalo City Municipality for the provision of housing. On the back of this, there is a huge demand for affordable rental accommodation located within close proximity to places of work, amenities and public transport,” says Wiseman.
The company mainly develops social housing accommodation for people earning between R,500 and R7,500 per month.
In the past two years, East London suburbs Southernwood and Haven Hills have seen various construction projects spring up. It has also refurbished the Skyview building in Southernwood which accommodates middle income earners.
“Own Haven offers a diverse range of accommodation which we refer to as a housing career. This enables tenants to move to another class of dwelling as their financial circumstances change,” Wiseman says.
East London's Southernwood suburb changing
It is making strides in changing the face of East London’s Southernwood suburb as part of the city’s “urban renewal programme”.
“It has a positive impact on the economy. People are closer to job opportunities and for local businesses to grow a customer base. Further it is providing affordable dignified accommodation in self-contained apartments, as opposed to shared facilities in houses converted into overcrowded “room” hostels,” Wiseman says.
Since inception in 2002, the company has bought and built 1,415 rental units
In 2008, OHHA completed its first social housing project in Port Elizabeth when it purchased and refurbished the nine storey Park Towers building which has 136 rental units.
200 units to be built in Parsonvlei, Port Elizabeth
“Own Haven was identified as a development partner by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and this partnership has resulted in a parcel of land being offered to Own Haven for the development of affordable accommodation. This project located at Parsonsvlei, in Port Elizabeth will realize approximately 200 units.”
It has completed Phase1 of construction of 112 low and middle income housing units in Knysna, while plans are afoot to reach a total of 2000 units by 2013. By SIYA MITI