Grace Winnaar in her bedroom at the transitional housing in Salt River. Picture: Sukaina Ishmail/Cape Argus
Cape Town - Residents at the City’s first transitional housing site in Copperfield Road, Salt River, are settling in after living in poor conditions for many years at the informal settlement in Pine Road.

The 19 families from the informal settlement are all living together in one large complex made up of 42 units.

Resident Grace Winnaar, staying in one room with her husband and daughter, said: “It’s been very nice since I moved in and I’m enjoying every moment because we had no electricity or warm water at the informal settlement and only two public toilets.”

Winnaar said they weren’t able to afford the social housing yet as her husband only earned an income from selling chips and sweets on the Cape Town station deck.

Balastina Govindarajoo, 28, who has two children, said: “I stayed in a wendy house with no electricity in Pine Road and cooked on a gas stove or fire.

There were always gangsters walking in and out causing a commotion and I feel much safer in this new home with my kids.”

The City is also providing various workshops to the residents for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. There are many mothers with kids staying in the transitional housing which also called for a parenting workshop.

Maria Fillies, 55, who lived in the informal settlement for 20 years, said she was now able to improve herself in this new environment.

“I am looking forward to a better future and it is so convenient to stay here because I work very close by. I earn enough for social housing, so from here I want to move into a house and it doesn’t matter where, we just want a roof over our heads,” she said.

Project facilitator Conrad Meyer said that the transition was going better than they expected.

“They have been adapting well. There are only some rules not abided by that we try to reinforce all the time. The idea of this building is to upgrade people so they can fall into the category of social housing and mainstream society,” said Meyer.

The transitional housing is only to provide temporary accommodation for the families until the new social housing development is complete which will begin later this year.

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Cape Argus