A permanent temporary solution?

Thousands of Cape Town residents live in vulnerable conditions without access to decent housing. An emergency programme allows for the temporary relocation of residents in crisis to so-called Temporary Resettlement Areas (TRAs). However, for many residents, moving from temporary shelter into a formal house is a very distant prospect. How does the city manage this situation, and how does temporary relocation affect citizens’ livelihoods and social and political networks? These are among the issues new NAI researcher Marianne Millstein will be investigating.

People are transferred to TRAs in response to various emergencies. In Delft, the Cape Town municipality has built so-called tin-can houses.
− A temporary solution can become permanent for many residents. Some people have already lived in Tin Can City for many years. Because some of them would not qualify for a permanent house under the government’s housing programmes, they risk being trapped in a temporary situation, says Marianne Millstein.

The TRAs are often located far from the city centre and transport is poorly developed. Some people who moved to Blikkiesdorp apparently lost their jobs in Cape Town, with increased poverty and insecurity the consequence.
− TRAs are part of many recent changes in South Africa’s housing politics. A temporary solution seems to have become a permanent feature of Cape Town’s urban landscape, with unclear long-term implications, says Marianne Millstein.

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