For the frail care wing, that is. But here I am in Cape Town, staying at the Berghof Retirement Village ( http://www.caperetirementlifestyles.co.za/rv-berghof.html ), one of NASHO member Communicare’s projects. AND my next-door neighbour in 202 really is Mrs Boucher!!!
Apart from this episode from the Twilight Zone, all is well here in Cape Town. CT reminds me of Banff, but way bigger and hipper. Everywhere you look, there’s a mountain and it’s nice that rich and poor share the same view.
Joburg or Cape Town?
I came down at Malcolm’s suggestion (well, In fairness he was also responding to my chronic whining about none of my work taking me to Cape Town). He and I were scheduled to call in to the ONPHA conference Saturday afternoon and he didn’t really want to leave home just for that. So he organized a couple of SHI visits for me, and that worked out great!
Malcolm and his lovely wife Emmanuelle sold their house down the road and bought a loft in the heart of town, across from a great coffee spot! I totally understand why he’d rather be here.
But apparently, Joburg is named #2 Good City, and I’m going to support that contention for now. Check it out: http://magazine.good.is/features/johannesburg_rank_2014 (Thanx Babs!)
On Friday, I spent the day with Joel Mukunqwana and some of his great folks at Communicare, the oldest social housing institution in South Africa. They started 80 years ago, mainly as a charity providing housing and supports for the elderly, depending on private donations (including land and buildings!).
When the government put out a social housing program, Communicare decided to hop on board. So now they have a portfolio of over 3,000 units and have used their existing sites to intensity and build family units into their mix. This has caused some consternation in their long-standing tenant base. Ottawa providers who are familiar with the “age mixed” OCH building challenges will understand this.
So Communicare is struggling to move away from being a kind of care provider to more of a “regular” SHI. They are slowly decreasing their home/medical support staff component and going more towards a community development model.
But because the current social housing funding model is not sustainable, they are also very keenly looking at some income mixing or other ways to change the revenue base.
When we arrived at Bothasig, a tenant was busy weeding in the vegetable garden. As I was chatting with staff about converting a rubbish bin building into a meeting room for tenant events, it came to me that they needed a gardening shed too. I put this to the gardener and here he is, making a case to Jerome, who then encouraged him to bring a plan. A few minutes later, as we were walking elsewhere on site, the gardener arrived, holding a glossy magazine to show Jerome what he meant. I gave him a big “thumbs up”!
Some technical glitches having been resolved,
Malcolm and I managed to speak to folks in Ottawa who were attending the ONPHA conference. Did I say I might bore you with a Power Point someday? Well, here is my take on how social housing can have impact on breaking up the spatial inequalities left by apartheid. Here’s hoping the technology works….
Like Lebreton Flats and Lowertown, but worse
District 6, where Malcolm lives now, used to be a very poor but vibrant community of people of all colours, religions and origins. And then they were all forcibly removed in order to declare their neighbourhood a “whites only” area. Pushed out into the Cape Flats, housed in shoddily built, leaking and overcrowded buildings, separated from their street “family”, their livelihood and ability to easily get to school or work, District 6 folks lost their identity.
And Cape Flats is now the area with the highest crime rate, topping the murder charts in South Africa every year.
This one’s for Dennis and Debbie:
On November 5 and 6, the RESHI (my guys) came to Joburg to hold a 2-day workshop on all aspects of building and managing social housing. We also invited two WESHIs (Well established SHIs) to join us.
Renier Erasmus, the CEO of Madulammoho Housing, a very innovative and capable SHI with lots of development experience was talking about moving tenants in to new projects and he said:
“We always schedule the move in date 3 months after the contractor’s estimated time. We want all the deficiencies corrected before tenants move in!”
I had to smile….
It was a great workshop, everyone learned a lot (even the WESHIs).
Ever wonder what happens to
Old VW vans? Saw one the other day at the Joburg Photo Umbrella event in Newtown.
That’s all for now folks….