Monday, September 15, 2008

Council homes owners get assistance from community officers

By Mishkah Anthony
15 September 2008


Thousands of Council tenants on the Cape Flats will now be able to sort out their housing queries more easily thanks to the appointment of community officers by the City of Cape Town.

The City has appointed a company to facilitate communication with the tenants of Council flats and hostels in Langa, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Ocean View, Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Scottsdene and Macassar.

Grace Blouw, Manager of Existing Housing says, “We finding that it is difficult for tenants to visit the local Housing offices, so what we doing is, we’ve appointed this service provider to be sort of a middle man between us and our tenants.”

She added that ,they will be going out and visiting people at their homes explaining what needs to be done explaining the benefits that there are for them when they visit the offices.

As from September, First Community Management Services will deploy 70 community officers to pay door to door visits in order to help tenants with their rental queries and housing maintenance and safety issues.

According to Blouw, the success of this two-year pilot project will determine its rollout to the rest of the city. The community officers will also be conversant in the language of the areas in which they are working and will carry official identification cards.

If a tenant is at work during the day, the community officer will leave a card with contact details. Tenants will thus be able to contact them after hours with any rental queries or to report any health or safety maintenance issues.

The officers will then see to it that the City’s maintenance department handles these requests within 30 days.

The officers will also help to identify the lawful occupants of each housing unit, make sure that leases are in order and facilitate the signing of contracts.

They will ensure that tenants receive proper monthly accounts and facilitate the payment of rentals. Tenants with financial difficulties will also be advised how to reschedule their debts or apply for indigent grants or rates rebates.

If the officers spot any unlawful activities occurring in Council properties, including illegal drug and alcohol trafficking, they will report these immediately to the Metro Police.

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