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News and Resources

Canadian Housing Groups Visit South African and Kenyan Counterparts

News and Resources

We were incredibly impressed with the achievements of Rooftops Canada’s African partners. Excellent leadership and their entrepreneurial and practical approach are keys to their success.

Kaye Melliship, British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association

Kaye was one of five representatives of Canadian social and co-op housing groups who met with our South African and Kenyan partners in late June and early July 2012.
In South Africa, the team shared experiences with social housing providers, the National Association of Social Housing Organizations and the Social Housing Regulatory Agency. In Kenya, thevisitors were hosted by the National Cooperative Housing Union of Kenya and Mazingira Institute, two longstanding Rooftops Canada partners.
Harvey Cooper from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada exclaimed, “I came away with a deep sense of appreciation for the remarkable and varied work that Rooftops Canada’s partners are doing. They are not only building affordable housing but initiating a range of creative financial and community based solutions to provide people with the means for a decent place to call home.”
For Catherine Boucher from the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the link between housing security and the informal economy was a highlight: “In Johannesburg, we all fell in love with Josie Adler and her Bad Boyz community safety patrol of EKhaya, a broad-based local organization reclaiming Hillbrow. In Soweto, we learned that many low-income people are surviving through small independent businesses: hair cutting, sewing, and roadside food preparation.” 
The visit was also a platform to bring new knowledge and best case practices home. Karine Leclerc from the Confédération québécoise des coopératives d'habitation said, “The visit was an eye-opener. It gave me a better understanding of the work of Rooftops Canada. I came back with great ideas and hopefully I will be able convince our co-ops in Quebec to implement some of them.”
Jo Ferris-Davies, from the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, said: “In South Africa, the housing designs are creative and reflect the diverse needs of tenants. The community work we saw was nothing short of brilliant and has implications for all large providers in urban settings. In Kenya, NACHU – without any government funding – is transforming the lives of families. I am so proud of the work of Rooftops Canada – it is a small but mighty organization leaving big footprints in sub-Saharan Africa through sharing and promoting the best of examples of housing development and management.