Evaluation of the work of the People’s Dialogue and South African Homeless People’s Federation

4.5 Income Generation

Support from a relevant institute (preferably an academic one) should be sought to carry out a study on how “unemployed” persons make their living. The study should also identify potential of supporting them in what they do and the problems related to skills, marketing, credit, etc., related to such support. On the basis of this study an income generation and skill creation programme can be initiated by another NGO (if the PD or HPF does not have this capacity), making use of the Federation network.

4.6 Reaching the Poorest

It is necessary for the programme to reach the poorest sections of the homeless without which the housing situation in South Africa cannot improve. To this end, a number of recommendations are made below. Many of these recommendations may in the short run be badly received by the savings schemes but it is felt, that in the long run, they will consolidate the work the Federations is doing and pave the way for a much stronger programme. Therefore, it is suggested that

  1. People accessing subsidies should not be given uTshani loans.
  2. The size of the loan should be reduced. The minimum size should be calculated on the cheapest possible specifications and on the basis of two rooms, bathroom and kitchen. A person should be eligible for another loan to build one or two more rooms, once he has paid the first loan.
  3. Communities who have identified and negotiated land should be given a loan for land purchase provided their members are landless and provided they undertake to shift to the new site immediately even if there is no infrastructure. Since only the most marginalized communities will agree to do this, the poorest will be reached.
  4. No loans should be given from the uTshani funds to people who have used their subsidies for acquiring developer-built house. However, they should be included in savings schemes, made part of crisis and income generation loans, and if and when funds are available, their credit needs for house building should be considered.
  5. The evaluation team came across a scheme where house builders where getting a loan only after they had built their foundations. Since they had to build their foundations with their own money, they built them in 500 Rands instead of 2,500 Rands, when loans were made available to them. The possibility of funding only certain parts of the house through loans should be explored as it would lower costs considerably and promote self reliance.

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