TUHF21, NOVAYA Labs partnership to bolster affordable housing developments in SA townships

The TUHF21 team looking to Joburg's skyline.

In support of expanding its uMaStandi programme to new Townships in South Africa, TUHF21, an impact-driven finance company focused on inner-city and township developments, has entered a strategic partnership to use the OneCity technology of NOVAYA Labs, an international organisation that provides a data-driven approach to property development.

uMaStandi is a township rental finance product developed by TUHF21, its first commercial property finance to be offered in targeted township areas based on freehold title. The programme aims to provide owners with finance and training to develop their existing township properties through constructing formal, approved, and quality rental residential stock.

In the markets we focus on, data that helps inform the decision-making process regarding where to invest is not always readily available. This sees us relying predominantly on word-of-mouth and local knowledge from community members. Embracing technology like OneCity in addition to this enables uMaStandi to make informed decisions, guided by the integration of hard facts and local insights,” says Katherine Cox, Development Impact Manager at TUHF21.

NOVAYA Labs has developed a customised data set for TUHF21 using OneCity. This will map the infrastructure, activity, and land rights in identified communities to assist uMaStandi target its efforts to achieve the maximum positive impact. OneCity helps developers navigate the pre-construction stage and make the best investment decisions aligned with the latest city plans. It pulls data from all relevant sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner.

South Africa has comprehensive spatial planning documents and a very high standard of data available. But it is not always easy to access especially if someone does not know where to look. OneCity addresses this through a solution tailored for the unique business case of TUHF21. Our solution is giving them access to everything from socio-economic data, planning data, and infrastructure accessibility data to empower them to make better strategic decisions on where to expand in targeted townships,” says Yuri Milevskiy, Founding Partner at NOVOYA Labs.

NOVAYA Labs has been working with local government for several years to develop GIS (geographic information system) tools focused on urban data.

We have launched a pilot project using OneCity in Umlazi and KwaMashu, two of the largest townships in KwaZulu-Natal. These communities were selected based on the potentially high demand for affordable housing investment,” says Katherine.

TUHF21 is also looking to expand the project to other areas including East London and Gqeberha.

We have worked with OneCity in eThekwini to identify those areas where the development of affordable housing will have the most impact. It provides us with the capability to take a macro view of these townships and narrow it down to assess the ideal areas for developers to locate their projects,” adds Katherine.

Katherine believes that OneCity could provide TUHF21 with access to increased knowledge bases. In turn, this will help it improve financing reach and the ability to lend and deliver affordable housing in quality locations.

TUHF21 is always open to innovation, trying to improve delivery, and understanding our markets better. The partnership with NOVAYA Labs will help in this regard,” concludes Katherine.