Special Needs Group Housing
Special needs group housing (SNGH) has been a major focus for PPT since 2002. PPT has played a significant role at both the project and policy levels over this period. This programme focuses on the provision of group housing (shelter and associated care) for a range of special needs beneficiaries such as orphans and vulnerable children, the chronically ill, those with disabilities and victims of domestic abuse.
The main focus is to assist welfare organisations (NPOs) working at grassroots level to access capital funding in the form of housing subsidies from provincial Departments of Human Settlements for acquisitions, new builds or renovations. Care is taken to ensure that projects are viable and sustainable (e.g. that organisations have the necessary skills and capacity to operate and maintain the project), that initiatives are operationally sustainable, and that the relevant government departments dealing with welfare or health are supportive. Projects have historically been located mainly in KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng but with some involvement in the Western Cape.
Capital funding approvals secured:
|Number of projects:||41|
|Number of households:||978|
Projects under preparation:
|Number of projects:||18|
|Number of households:||368|
- Orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) (including those affected by HIV/AIDS)
- The seriously ill (including those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS
- The old and infirm (including frail care)
- Those with physical disabilities
- Those with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities
- Victims of domestic abuse and faimily violence (emergency and stage 2 housing)
- The homeless / those on the street (children, adults, refugees, trafficked people)
- Those under substance rehabilitation
- Parolees, ex-offenders and juvenile offenders
PPT has worked extensively on SNGH in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape. To date PPT has leveraged more than R54million in state SNGH housing subsidies for NPOs for 978 beneficiaries in special need on 41 projects and is currently preparing SNGH projects benefiting a further 368 beneficiaries in special need.
PPT will work towards a more enabling policy and delivery environment for Special Needs Group Housing in South Africa. PPT will engage with National Department of Human Settlements to determine progress on the SNH Framework that was prepared and submitted by the SNH Forum in 2008, the National Department of Social Development to obtain buy-in and support and various NGOs across the country to motivate for a National Directive to Provinces to develop their SNH policies.
PPT will also offer support to the Western Cape Provincial Department of Human Settlements in prepration for and during the implementation of their Special Needs Group Housing Policy.
At project level, PPT will investigate housing options for: a) stage 2 and 3 housing for Abused Women and Children; b) affordable independent / assisted living for the elderly within the community. This will be followed up with appropriate pilot projects with selected welfare organisations to test the housing models both in urban and rural areas. An interest-free DGMT Revolving Preparation Fund will be established by PPT for this purpose. In the first phase, a minimum of 4 organisations will be assisted resulting in an estimated 6 care facilities benefiting approximately 50 beneficiaries with a subsidy value of approximately R3.3 million. As preparation funds are recovered from capital housing subsidies approved, the recovered preparation funding will be utilised for additional SNH projects (approximately 4 per year). (Posted September 2012)
Purpose: The new Housing Programme (“National Special Housing Needs Policy and Programme”) will provide capital funding to suitable NPOs to provide group special needs accommodation. In doing so, it will fill an important void within Government’s National Housing Programme. NPOs will be responsible for associated care and ongoing operating and maintenance. The special housing opportunities provided will not accrue to a particular individual, but rather to a space within a facility which will be made available to a series of qualifying beneficiaries on a sustainable basis over time. The Programme will apply nationally and will be implemented in close collaboration with the Department of Social Development who, together with the other oversight Departments of Health and Correctional Services, will approve NPOs and who may provide certain operational funding.
Minmec mandate: Following civil society advocacy, the issues of special needs group housing was raised at the Housing Portfolio Committee in April 2012. The Committee tasked the National Department to research the need for such a policy. A year later, after being mandated by their MINMEC in 2013, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) decided to further explore the issue of Special needs housing in close cooperation with the Department of Social Development.
Cost-benefit: The programme will have a favourable cost-benefit. For example, an annual capital budget of R200m (nationally) would leverage approximately 1,500 sustainable special needs group housing opportunities (with multiple persons benefiting from each opportunity over time depending on the duration of stay).
Rationale: Whilst Welfare NPOs are the main providers of special needs group housing and related social services, they have been unable to access state housing assistance (with the exception of certain provincial programmes in provinces such as KZN). They have thus been heavily constrained in their ability to meet the substantial need, it being recognised that there is a high prevalence of vulnerable persons in South Africa due to such factors as inequality, poverty and unemployment, HIV AIDS, spatial dislocation, weakened family structures, substance abuse and gender-based violence.
NPO role, typologies and beneficiaries: Once implemented, the new Policy will enable non-profit organisations providing welfare and related service and accommodation to persons in special need to access much-needed capital funding. Beneficiaries will include orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disabilities, victims of domestic abuse, older persons and homeless persons amongst others. Typical housing typologies include foster care homes, homes for older persons and people with disabilities, shelters for victims of abuse and homeless persons. The new programme will leverage the capacity and resources of NPOs, it being recognised that NPOs are able to operate facilities more cost-effectively than the state and that they bear the bulk of the long-term operating and maintenance costs. It will be distinct from certain provisions within existing housing programmes for persons in special need which are provided on an individual basis (e.g. for persons with disabilities) as well as being distinct from the social housing programme
Beneficiary groups: The following categories of vulnerable persons with special housing needs who have low incomes (as defined in the Housing Code) or have no incomes or are dependent on social grants stand to benefit:
- Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s);
- Older persons;
- Persons with disabilities (including, but not limited to physical, intellectual and psycho socio impairments)
- Victims of domestic abuse and similar crimes;
- The terminally ill and frail persons (including those infected by HIV AIDS);
- The homeless or destitute or those living on the street (including children);
- Those receiving substance abuse rehabilitation services;
- Parolees and persons released on probation;
- Other vulnerable people such as victims of serious crime and victims of human trafficking.
Government Department collaboration: The Policy is the first housing policy that has been developed in collaboration with other state departments. Whilst the Policy falls under the Department of Human Settlement, it was developed in close collaboration with the relevant oversight Departments – the Department of Social Development as well as the Departments of Health and Correctional Services.
Civil Society collaboration: The NPO and Civil Society sector was closely involved in the policy development process (e.g. via a Project Steering Committee and via a National Stakeheholder Policy Workshop and bilateral workshop engagements with particular special needs sectors). This is unprecedented.