Since 1985 the first Monday in October, the world over commemorates World Habitat Day. Amongst others, this is to reflect on the provision of adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
In just over two years under Minister Tertuis Simmers’ tenure the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDHoHS), has created just over 29 000 housing opportunities throughout the province. This clearly demonstrates how the Western Cape Government (WCG) continues to ensure that it delivers opportunities to the most vulnerable residents. This is particularly for the elderly, those who are 60 years and older, persons living with medically certified disabilities, those that have been longest on the Housing Demand Database (15 years and longer) and backyard dwellers.
Minister Simmers said: “World Habitat Day presents us with the opportunity to reflect on how we’ve been delivering to our people. We’ve shown that we are serious about helping the most vulnerable in our communities. This is not only important in the delivery of Breaking New Ground/fully state subsidised housing, but in creating opportunities within the affordable housing space, while further ensuring that our people become fully-fledged and legal homeowners by handing over their title deeds”.
As part of its affordable housing spectrum, during the 2019/2020 financial year, the WCDoHS exceeded its delivery in the Financial Linked Individual Subsidies (FLISP) by providing 1 214 subsidies against a target of 996. Security of tenure was also ensured for 8 491 residents against a target of 7 110 by handing over title deeds.
Simmers added: “Given the various fiscal and other constraints, it is critical that we find a wide variety of options to continue delivering to our people. We’ve adopted a focused approach that speaks to the reality in the Western Cape and the need to create more affordable housing opportunities. These include rental and other options.
We’ve already shown our innovation by incorporating technology through the development of our WCG App, which allows beneficiaries to either register on the Housing Demand Database or to update and or verify their details. We’re also utilising alternative and sustainable building technology, as it is just as important to protect our environment, which the technology helps us with.
As the Western Cape Government, our aim to provide a habitat that is not only liveable, secure and safe but also that which gives our citizens access to the economic activities and emancipate them through sustainable habitat development” concluded Simmers.