Description: The Slangpark Housing Project was started in February 1994 to provide housing for people living in informal settlements in Grabouw in the Theewaterskloof municipality. The aim of the project was to train the proposed recipients of the new houses to build the houses themselves, thereby also providing the people with new skills, which would make them more employable. The project was undertaken in partnership with the municipality, the Western Cape Department of Local Government and Housing, the Western Cape Department of Labour (who trained the builders) and a construction consultant. The project was however 100% funded by the Western Cape Department of Housing and Local Government.
Innovation: Although the involvement of the community in building new houses for themselves is not a new idea, the concept is effective in providing a training service on top of the provision of houses.
Effectiveness: 843 houses have been built to cater for the Slangpark community who saw their informal settlement destroyed by a terrible fire. These houses were all built in one year.
Poverty Impact: The provision of houses for the 843 families is in no doubt a huge benefit to their livelihoods. A house will be cleaner and warmer and therefore prevent diseases associated with living in an informal settlement. The psychological benefit to a family also helps to uplift them. The building training provided will help certain members of the family to get jobs.
Sustainability: The project has actually been completed. It is questionable why the project does not continue to find a way of providing housing for the rest of the approximately 3000 families still living in informal settlements in Grabouw. It is also questionable why the project started in 1994 and finished in December 2004 if all the houses only took one year to build.
Replication: This project seems to have combined government and community well and provided a necessary service. The basic concept of the community helping themselves is however a good one and can be replicated with the support of government.