A site in Salt River will provide short-term accommodation and is part of a greater plan to unlock more than 2 000 affordable and social housing opportunities near Cape Town’s CBD.

It is exciting to know that the City of Cape Town’s first transitional housing project in Salt River, also referred to as the Pickwick transitional housing project, is on track. This project forms part of the City’s greater commitment to unlock hundreds of affordable and social housing opportunities near the city centre.

The Pickwick transitional housing project will provide short-term accommodation to the households who are currently living in an informal settlement on the Pine Road site. The Pine Road site will be developed to unlock about 230 social housing (affordable rental) opportunities once the households have moved to the transitional housing site in Pickwick Street. It is important for the households currently living on the site not to be displaced, but to be offered short-term accommodation in the area and at a nominal cost, while they are assisted with finding more permanent housing opportunities that they may qualify for.

The City has engaged with the Pine Road families and we will continue to do so.

Some of these families may qualify for the social housing opportunities – otherwise known as affordable rental units – that we will be developed in Pine Road. As such, they may choose to return to live in these units should they qualify. Households with a combined monthly income of up to R15 000 qualify for social housing opportunities.

The intention is not for tenants to live at the transitional site in Pickwick Street on a permanent basis, but rather to provide a helping hand and to accommodate them in the short term. At the Pickwick transitional housing site short-term tenants will have access to social services, while they are in the process of finding more permanent housing opportunities elsewhere. In this way, when they move on, the space at the transitional site becomes available for other short-term tenants.

Progress of the Pickwick transitional housing site

The Pickwick transitional housing site consists of 42 rooms, communal bathrooms and kitchens, as well as access control to ensure the safety of those residing there. The construction of the transitional housing site, situated on the corner of Pickwick and Copperfield Roads, cost about R11-million, which was obtained from national government grant funding.

Now that the construction is complete, the final snags on the site are currently being addressed. The City is also in the process of obtaining an Occupancy Certificate for the site, which is a legal requirement before any person can reside on site.

The supply chain management process is also underway to appoint a management agent for the site. Due process is being followed to ensure that the necessary legal and contractual requirements will be in place before short-term tenants can move in.

Those offered short-term accommodation in the facility will sign lease agreements and pay a monthly rental based on what they can afford and the size of the room. If necessary, the City will subsidise the operational costs through its Rental Indigent Scheme applicable to Council tenants.

The details related to the management and contractual agreements for this site are yet to be determined and can only be finalised once a managing agent has been appointed.

Social housing going forward

This transitional housing project echoes the City’s commitment to providing hundreds of social housing opportunities around the city centre on sites such as the Salt River Market, Woodstock Hospital and Pine Road (mentioned above), as well as other areas across the city.

An update

  • The rezoning application for the Salt River Market site was tabled with the Municipal Planning Tribunal. The outcome will be notified once the appeal period has concluded.
  • The Woodstock Hospital has been earmarked for social housing opportunities. The planning of these opportunities can only formally commence once the acquisition of the property from the Western Cape Government has been approved by Council. This process is currently underway and will be tabled at Council in due course.

The City currently also has five social housing projects under construction which include Bothasig, The Block Glen Haven, Weltevreden Park and the City will continue to partner with the Western Cape Government on social housing projects, such as the Conradie Hospital Site and the Goodwood social housing project. Altogether these projects are expected to deliver over 3 800 affordable housing opportunities.

With this in mind, the City remains committed to providing housing opportunities in all of the central business districts – not only the Cape Town CBD, Salt River and Woodstock, but also in smaller near inner-cities such as Bellville, Parow, Khayelitsha, Claremont, Mitchells Plain, Wynberg and Plumstead.

The City recognises the dire need for housing opportunities that are situated on well-located land, close to employment opportunities and economic nodes. There are no quick fixes, but it is committed to building integrated communities with different types of residential developments based on a mix of income groups and circumstances. Social housing is one of these avenues the City is investing in to provide more affordable housing opportunities for its people.

Going forward, it will continue to assess City-owned land, including in and near the Cape Town CBD among others, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities – be it for transitional, affordable, social housing, or state-subsidised Breaking New Ground housing.

In addition, the development and availability of affordable rental accommodation in central areas of the city must play a key role in the future development of Cape Town.

Cape Town is a place for all. The City is committed to inclusivity and will keep on exploring all possibilities in providing more affordable housing opportunities for its residents.