Allocating Beneficiaries for Housing Opportunities
Housing demand and the allocation thereof to suitable beneficiaries has been a concern of Provincial and National Governments for some years. However, accurate beneficiary information is required not only for housing planning purposes, but also to run beneficiary selection processes for housing projects that are fair. It is against this background that the beneficiary selection process was borne.
1. Citizens needing housing assistance must approach the local municipal housing office to obtain and complete a registration form for a housing opportunity.
2. The citizen gets registered on the municipality's Housing Demand Database to stand in line for becoming a beneficiary of the housing opportunity once it becomes available.
3. Municipalities continuously plan for housing opportunities in the form of housing projects. These plans are submitted to the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements for approval to which funding is allocated. Such a plan takes a while to draft and involves a feasibility study, an environmental impact study, integration with local facilities making sure it is close to schools, work, business opportunities and health facilities.
5. Once development commences the municipality then applies its beneficiary selection criteria, as set out in its approved housing allocation policy, to preselect a short-list of potential beneficiaries for the project.
6. These preliminary selected households’ information is then captured from the subsidy application forms into the Housing Subsidy System (HSS). Several checks are done against the Population Register, Deeds Office, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and other Government systems to ensure that applicants still qualify. A few rounds of beneficiary selection may take place, removing applicants who don’t qualify any longer, until all the housing opportunities have been allocated.
7. The municipality then contacts the shortlisted potential beneficiaries to determine whether they are still interested and to get them to complete the subsidy application forms (often municipalities assist with this process or do it on behalf of the beneficiaries). It is thus very important that applicants keep their details, especially their contact information, on the housing database up to date to ensure that they are easily contactable. The municipality then publicises the approved beneficiary list for public scrutiny.
8. Once all planning and project approval processes have been successfully completed, construction of the project commences. Projects are usually executed in phases where housing opportunities are handed over continuously until the whole project is complete and signed off.
9. Once construction is complete, beneficiaries are contacted to inform them that they may now take occupation of the residential unit. Relevant paperwork, such as title deeds, is included in the handover process (for example with BNG units). Should the housing opportunity involve a rental unit, applicants will sign a lease when taking occupation of the rental unit.