Background and objectives
South Africa's housing problems are mainly a legacy of the apartheid system. Housing was provided and used as an instrument of social segregation. There was no housing market for all South Africans and no coherent national housing policy. Housing, therefore, became a political rallying point during the struggle for liberation and majority rule and a top priority of the new Government. The Department of Housing has initiated several interventions at different levels with the objective of housing the nation without discrimination and in particular to correct the historical imbalance. The People's Housing Process has been initiated to assist people who are poor and homeless or inadequately housed. The objective of the project is to develop support mechanisms for building capacity at all levels to enable people to address their own housing needs.
The activities include a preparatory phase during which linkages between national policies and sub-national and community-level structures were established through a series of consultations. Specific activities for the implementation phase include the establishment of facilities and recruitment of personnel, a contribution to the national policy on housing in general and to the People's Housing Process in particular, carrying out an advocacy campaign to inform officials of public and private institutions and communities about the People's Housing Process and to commit them to supporting the process, developing supportive skills at all levels for the process by engaging with officials and communities in housing activities such as mobilization of savings, organization skills and actual planning, design and construction of houses, development of community networks of NGOs, locally and internationally and community-based organizations for the exchange of experience and ideas on mobilizing communities to produce their own housing.
Results include establishment of a People's Housing Partnership Trust at the Department of Housing charged with implementing the training programme and the People's Housing Process. This includes legal documents and a comprehensive business plan, an increased awareness among the people of their ability to contribute towards finding solutions to their housing needs as well as several documents, videos and other displays, a national housing policy for supporting the People's Housing Process guidelines for supporting the People's Housing Process within the national housing policy and in the application of the housing subsidies procedures for establishing housing support centres and personnel in three provincial housing departments trained in facilitation skills.