Today, Council approved a resolution to make 71 City-owned properties available for the purpose of creating quality low cost income housing within the Inner City. This is in addition to the 13 other such properties which were made available for the same purpose late last year.
To guarantee oversight as well as ensure that unscrupulous developers do not benefit at the expense of the City and its residents, buildings will be provided on a long-term lease basis, ensuring that the buildings are developed and that rentals cater to low income households.
Factors which are to be taken into account when evaluating bids for these buildings include:
•the size of investment which is to be made;
•the number of units to be constructed;
•the breakdown and affordability of rental fees;
•the number of job to be created during the construction phase;
•the number of artisans to be trained as part of construction; and
•the commitment to providing student accommodation, particularly in areas in close proximity to campuses and along public transportation routes utilized predominantly by students.
The revitalization of the Inner City has been a critical component of our administration. Undoubtedly, one of the highest challenges we face in the Inner City is access to affordable housing and the increase in hijacked buildings.
An estimated 30 000 accommodation units are required in the short term to address the needs of the most vulnerable households within the City. The City has conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings, 84 of which are confirmed as hijacked. So far, 55 bad buildings belonging to the City will be converted into affordable housing.
Through the Inner City Housing Implementation Plan, we are set to make the Inner City housing market work better for the poor.
Public-Private partnerships are crucial to this strategic approach, and the management of these relationships between the City, developers and community will be key to ensuring that the pro-poor principle of the project is upheld.
As part of our efforts to reclaim the Inner City, we will continue to intensify multidisciplinary raids within hijacked buildings in order to fight criminal slum lords who live off the desperate needs of our residents.
Further to this, the City is taking all possible steps to determine the identity of the true owners of hijacked buildings in order to begin the process of reclaiming these spaces. Where owners cannot be identified, the City will look to expropriate these buildings so to utilize them for housing development.
During my first State of the City Address, I promised to turn the Inner City into a construction site that will provide transform residents of this city work and live. This new development is the beginning of that promise.
I am confident that by working together with all sectors of society, we will be able to turn the Inner City into the heartbeat of the City and a place of opportunity for all our residents.