Social Rental Housing and Empowerment: Voices of Beneficiaries from Gauteng, South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adequate housing undergirds all social and economic relations, connecting communities with other related services that are key for people’s optimum development. It is a key social welfare service and a basic human need whose empowerment function resonates with the social work agenda of enabling smooth functioning of the society and creating socially and economically viable communities. In this article, I report on the housing experiences of social housing beneficiaries in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Using an empowerment lens, I contend that housing has the potential to give people more control and self-determination over their lives by linking them to the economy. I employed purposive sampling in this qualitative study and selected three social housing institutions: two in Johannesburg and one in Pretoria. In each of these institutions a focus group discussion was conducted with the beneficiaries. The research findings indicate that adequate housing delivery bears numerous empowerment dividends, directly helping poor people to break from a cycle of poverty. Consonant with its mandate of empowering communities, social work needs to be more proactive in housing advocacy on behalf of poor people and marginalised individuals and groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7222
JournalSouthern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • empowerment
  • housing
  • housing delivery
  • social rental housing
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health (social science)
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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