More than 100 New Woodlands residents received certificates confirming that they are beneficiaries of The New Woodlands Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP).
On Sunday August 8, the 111 residents gathered on the plot in Walter Battiss Road, New Woodlands where the houses will be built.
The Plainsman has reported extensively on the Southern Corridor Integrated Human Settlement Programme, with the New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association (WRA) having been in discussions to ensure a 50/50 split of housing opportunities between Kosovo and Mitchell’s Plain residents on the housing waiting list (“Building a home together”, Plainsman, November 27 2019).
The New Woodlands Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) housing project, which will yield 440 breaking new ground (BNG) housing opportunities, has been in the planning stages for many years and will benefit qualifying residents from New Woodlands and Kosovo communities (“New Woodlands housing project launched”, Plainsman, May 1 2019).
Chairperson of New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association, Shahiem Van Nelson, said because of the way the plots were laid out, sub-station requirements, and not being able to build on certain plots, only 434 houses will be able to be built, he said.
Two hundred and seventeen residents from Kosovo and New Woodlands respectively will qualify for housing.
Kosovo Development Forum secretary, Chumisa Thompson said Kosovo residents had not received homeowner beneficiary certificates.
“If residents do not apply, or are not registered on the database, they will not receive a house. We are still waiting on confirmation from the City for those residents who will be recipients of a house, part of this housing project,” she said.
Mr Van Nelson said more than 140 people had been screened, with only 111 of them approved. All those applicants had not previously owned homes, among them seniors aged between 62 and 83.
“We are elated that we are providing a dwelling for these residents. These are exciting times. To live in a wendy house for many years, on a housing waiting list, is a lot. Finally receiving the news of being a beneficiary, is amazing” he said.
The New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association had fought for this housing project to happen, he said.
“We wanted the space to be beautiful, where children can play, where people can walk and live in a good environment. It was many meetings before we saw good results,” he said.
“We fought for the people of New Woodlands as this housing project is within New Woodlands. It was only right to fight for the people of New Woodlands. Get your residents’ or ratepayers’ associations up and running, fighting for the community. Our housing backlog will swing tremendously,” he said.
Ward 75 councillor Joan Woodman said the applicants had to be screened in order to qualify for a new home, with one of the requirements being that they not previously have owned property.
There will be a second phase of screening for those who qualify for a new home at another site in New Woodlands.
At Sunday’s handover, New Woodlands resident, Bianca Diedericks, 33, said she was very emotional and excited for her partner, Stephen Petersen, 44, who was one of the beneficiaries.
“I don’t know if I must laugh or cry but we are so overwhelmed by the news. We are a family of seven people. It is a challenge when you’re not living in your own home; it is very hard. We look forward to receiving a house we can call our own,” she said.
Cyntha May, 62, said she was proud to be a beneficiary and planned to do everything possible to make her new home look beautiful.
Committee member of New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association, Fatima Davids, said Ms May hasn’t had it easy.
“The condition Ms May is living in is not good for her health. She is exposed to drug activity, living in a small section of the house. It is unsafe for Ms May and her son to live like this. Receiving her new home is very good news, and renewed hope,” she said.
Ms Woodman said it was an emotional moment for the recipients.
“They have waited for a house and God has answered their prayers. We are fighting for each one of you to have your own homes. Congratulations to the beneficiaries. You will be united together in your own little space with your families,” said Ms Woodman.