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Enabling the Right to Build through Housing Support Centres

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Backyard Matters

21 October 2022

Development Action Group, Isandla Institute


Isandla Institute Librarian


Isandla Institute

South Africa

In the context of fiscal constraints and the de-prioritisation of new large-scale RDP housing projects, there is an opportunity for self-build to be enabled and supported through Housing Support Centres (HSCs). HSCs can tap into the latent willingness and agency of communities to build houses incrementally.


The Isandla Institute has proposed a municipal-led HSC model that could provide a variety of possible housing support needs across different housing/settlement typologies. The model is based on the Enhanced People’s Housing Process (EPHP) as a local self-build precedent, and other examples of current and proposed models for support centres, both locally and in other global South locations (Brazil and India).


The HSC model would be implemented in partnership with provinces, NGOs, the private sector, and academic institutions. It would provide a range of services, including:

  • Technical support for self-builders
  • Financial assistance
  • Training and education
  • Social support
  • Advocacy and lobbying

The HSC model has the potential to significantly increase the number of people who are able to access affordable housing. It would also help to build community capacity and empower communities to take control of their own housing future.


The video explores the potential of HSCs to address the housing crisis in South Africa. It discusses the challenges and opportunities of implementing the HSC model, and it provides a case study of a successful HSC in operation.


For more details, see the proposition paper, which is distilled from a longer research paper


Abstract based on original.




Website References

Built environment






Human settlements




Low cost housing

Non-government organisation


Poverty & inequality

Private sector


South Africa


Water and sanitation

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