Areas in the southern suburbs will benefit from approximately 5 000 housing opportunities when the Greater Retreat Housing Project starts in middle 2021.This announcement was made by the provincial minister of human settlements Tertius Simmers after he paid a visit to the areas and engaged with the residents and other stakeholders.These areas consist of wards 62, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71 and 110 and are inclusive of areas such as Grassy Park, Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Southfield, Cafda, Plumstead, Ottery, Ottery East, Ferness, Vrygrond and Seawinds.Over the past three weeks, he had various public engagements with residents from the greater Retreat area.“I commend the communities, their project steering committees (PSCs), ward councillors, civic organisations and all other stakeholders for their robust and frank engagements. I also thank them for giving me the opportunity to clearly state what our housing allocation criteria are and how we need to ensure that those longest on the housing demand database, along with the most vulnerable, benefit first. “It was pleasing to note how eager these communities are for the development to commence and their willingness to be fully involved in the entire process. These communities are already demonstrating how the government and citizenry can and should work together, as this will allow us to change the lives of many people, particularly in the greater Retreat area,” he says. This mixed-development project, which includes Breaking New Ground (BNG) or free houses, community residential units (CRU), rental- and social housing, open market and finance linked individual subsidy programme (FLISP), has a budget of more than R1.5 billion. The project is currently in its planning phase, which includes various investigations and assessments. It is expected to commence in middle 2021 with the last key to be handed over in 2024. Various amenities such as schools and recreational facilities will also form part of this development. “I call on residents to not allow themselves to be duped by unscrupulous characters spreading false information about this project. Instead, potential beneficiaries should engage their PSCs and ward councillors to acquire the correct information.As the provincial government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society,” Simmers says.