The Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) was conceived at the dawn of South Africa’s democracy. Launched in 1995 into a city in a state of enormous transitional flux, and against the conventional wisdom of the day, JHC has led a pioneering path in the development of social housing in the Johannesburg inner city – and at a national level.
It has made a marked impact on urban regeneration, breaking down the apartheid barriers that for so long had excluded so many, creating the space for new residential communities, and making Johannesburg an inclusive city.
Through its own successes JHC has been influential in attracting investment on a broader scale back to the inner city, boosting development and generating a dramatic increase in property values.
Over the past 19 years, JHC has developed more than 4000 rental housing units and today provides homes to more than 12 000 people in low to middle income communities. It has built up a portfolio of 35 buildings – across the inner city and, most recently, reaching into Greater Johannesburg in response to the continuing demand for housing from a fast growing urban population.
While the financial investment is considerable (at around R700 million to date) the long-term impact lies in JHC’s ability to turn houses into homes, to create neighbourhoods where people can come and go to work easily, where children can go to school, and where they can play safely.
JHC operates as a private sector, non-profit, social housing institution. Having started from scratch, it has grown to become a leader in the social housing sector, recognised in South Africa and internationally for its innovative, practical and sustainable housing solutions.
Along this developmental path, the company has taken on slum clean-ups, building upgrades, conversions and refurbishments, as well as new developments. It has established best practice benchmarks in design, construction, and building management in the social housing sector, and has set new standards for customer service.
JHC has also evolved its own management model which balances the concern for rebuilding inner city communities fractured by apartheid’s inhumanities, with the skills, efficiencies and business disciplines that support the company’s long-term sustainability.
Many of its practices have established important precedents which have been emulated by other social housing institutions and have been incorporated into policy by local, provincial and national government.
JHC has come to be regarded as a reliable custodian of public and private funds, and a trusted and valued partner of government, business, private financial institutions, sister organisations within and outside of South Africa, and the tenant communities with which it works.