Corporate Social Investment

Houses take shape

The third day of the Habitat For Humanity housing build in Orange Farm was blisteringly hot, but IDC volunteers went to work happily.

October 3, 2012

The houses are almost completeThe houses are almost complete

On day three of their house building stint, Industrial Development Corporation staff were again toiling under the hot sun in Orange Farm.

The volunteers have swopped their suits for work overalls and their desks for spades and wheelbarrows under a Habitat For Humanity South Africa (HFHSA) initiative. They are building seven homes in five days as part of the programme.

Construction, being undertaken in blistering heat, started on 1 October. The houses will be finished on Friday, 5 October, when they will be handed over to the seven families who have already been identified as the beneficiaries. Apart from the IDC, other organisations have pitched in build a further 43 homes in the area.

Bridgette Morris, the IDC's innovation manager, was on site and hard at work from 10am. The house she's helping to build has an outer shell and the inner walls were going up by early afternoon. "For me, I want to keep being part of [the initiative]," Morris explained. In last year's build, she asked the beneficiary of the home how he felt, she said, and when he smiled that was enough to show her how the programme touched people's lives. This kept her coming back for more.

It was also extremely rewarding for first timer Qadr Hassen, an account manager in the Green Industries Strategic Business Unit. He explained that he grew up in Eldorado Park, which is about 20 minutes from Orange Farm, and after seeing the living conditions of people in the area he felt the need to do more. Giving more than just a monetary contribution was rewarding, he added.

IDC volunteers get down to do some bricklayingIDC volunteers get down to do some
Building these homes falls under the organisation's annual initiative, in partnership with HFHSA, to construct houses for the poor and marginalised. The IDC has been involved with HFHSA, an affiliate of Habitat For Humanity International, since 2007. In total, 25 houses have been built already by its staff volunteers in Katlehong, Ivory Park and Orange Farm.

Habitat for Humanity's model is based on the concept of "partnership housing" where those in need of homes work side by side with volunteers to build decent and affordable houses. The approach is based on sweat equity; prospective homeowners have to help build at least four other houses before they become beneficiaries of houses.

The building programme is influenced by three key areas: homeowner readiness, funding and volunteer availability. Families are chosen for assistance on the basis of specific criteria:

  • The family must earn a combined monthly income of between R0 and R3 500;
  • The family must be living in sub-standard housing;
  • The family must own the land on which the house will be built and be in possession of the Title Deed;
  • The family must undertake to perform sweat equity, that is, physically work on other homeowners' homes before qualifying for their own house;
  • The family must save a set minimum amount or for a designated time period towards their house before it is built; and,
  • The family must qualify for a South African government housing subsidy.

For IDC staff volunteers to help on the build, beneficiaries must meet the corporation's corporate social investment selection criteria. Once a homeowner has been identified, construction begins when volunteers are available.

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