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News and Resources

Changing the World…Every Action Counts

News and Resources

By: Heather Tillock, Regional Municipality of York/CHRA


Participating in the Rooftops Canada 2014 Study Tour was my first opportunity to engage in social housing within an international context, or, as my colleague put it, “planning to change the world.”  In Kenya and South Africa, we saw community water projects, innovative urban farms, the Kibera slum, social housing developments, and new micro-financing initiatives during our two-week tour.


When you support the housing needs of marginalized people, you must be a partner, a provider, an advocate, and a consummate negotiator. In Nairobi, NACHU partners with numerous housing cooperatives to provide sustainable clean drinking water systems, and advocates for the many females who lead households while caring for their families. The Mazingira Institute negotiates improved civic planning for urban agriculture, and provides training in leadership development, economic self- sufficiency, and inner-city farming. 


In Johannesburg, the Madulammoho Housing Association’s vision is to be “the heartbeat of affordable housing,” and provides accommodation to many families who would otherwise not be able to afford to live in the city. The restoration of the previously violent eKhaya neighbourhood into a safe and prosperous community is an example of vision and tenacity.


In Cape Town, Communicare has developed the Drommedaris and Bothasig Gardens social housing communities as integrated, accessible communities which are responding to the low-cost housing backlog, and the Kuyasa Fund provides micro-finance loans to low-income families to support the purchase and development of their own homes. 


We experienced first-hand so many success stories – happy, confident community members whose lives have been forever changed by their pride of home ownership achieved through the support of dedicated organizations.  Their faces and their smiles shone like the warm African sun.  My colleagues and I will be forever inspired by their resilience and humility in working and prospering in the face of such enormous challenges. Their inspiration will help us to change the world ….