Rethinking social housing

So am sitting at my Coffeece and this guy comes up to me. At first I couldn’t recognize this gaunt impoverished figure in front of me. As he begins speaks I can’t help but notice odor that precedes him. As he extends his hand to shake my mine, my brain is working overtime trying to recognize him. Being both a germaphobe and I guess a snob, I extend my hand with great trepidation. As he speaks it immediately comes back to me.

He is a guy I used to have conversations with at my previous coffeece. So I guess he was coffeece colleague. I had not seen him in a long time. It was clear to me that for whatever reason this guy’s luck had taken a turn for the worst. He was carrying a backpack with what I assumed were all the valuables he owned. He was clearly living in the streets and he had come to this coffee shop to escape the dusty cold weather outside. He asked that I buy him a cup of coffee a ritual that he and i shared on many occasions. I obliged mostly because I wanted us to go our separate ways, I am ashamed to say. This guy is well educated, worked for multinationals and today is living in the streets. WTF?!

As an entrepreneur my biggest fear is just that. I have seen how easy it is to be on top of the world one day at the bottom the next. It’s just that easy. I think at some level every entrepreneur has poverty paranoia.

If you read my blog yesterday, you would have seen that half of South Africa is living below the poverty line. The thing about stats is that they have no faces, and they seem so far removed from you. I can now tell you first hand that those stats are real.

Not being sure how I could help this guy, my mind and guilt started working overtime. Other that the cup of coffee, he had not asked me for help. I started thinking what if it was me?

Being a big dreamer and thinker; one on one problems frustrate me. I always think I am destined to solve bigger problems and let the social entrepreneurs deal with the day to day, bread and butter problems.

I got such great reviews for my “robots must pay tax” blog yesterday. I even got a call from a friend of mine in the U.K. impassioned by my shift work idea. I have now coined a phrase alternative shift (Alt.Shift)

Why stop at shift work, why not shift dwelling too. The world has changed, and for the most part people now get that we live in a sharing economy. Yes it may not be as prevalent in Africa especially to the lower income groups.

Forget out of the box thinking, we can’t afford the box anymore. All RDP or government housing should be made such that two families can utilize the dwellings. The night walkers use the house during the day to sleep and clean up. The day walkers get to use the house at night for the same purposes. This means we could cut our housing requirements almost immediately.

Why should RDP houses not be a shift based communes too? The houses will come with basic infrastructure such as beds, stoves and fridges. They will have big lockers where valuables and personals can be stored. Linen and clothing can be stored in such lockers too.

Yeah sure there are probably 1001 reasons why you will tell me this is a dumb idea. I hear you saying it will never work. But I am sure the guys at AirBNB and Uber got told the same thing.

In the next year I plan to convert all my liabilities into assets. I will be trading in my overkill and overcompensating vehicle for a small sedan that will be used as an Uber or Taxify. I love Ubering, I sit in the back and get shit done. So whilst I am in meetings my drivers earns me money, or at the very least I am covering my costs.

My house currently has an agent that books it for photo shoots and commercials. Yes my house has people that talk to my people. I will be putting it on airbnb too next year as I am never home anyways. The days I am home I may consider doing as the food in my fridge often goes spoils. Occupational hazards of being a bachelor.

I am simply illustrating that most of us are bogged down by liabilities that we think are assets.

There is nothing new I am saying here, it’s not innovative. Time share holidays are over 20 years oldie SA. So the concept has been around and it works, why not apply it elsewhere? I think this focus on ownership is misplaced. We should value utility more than ownership. I don’t know about you but I value holes more than I value the drill. Half the time the drill is sitting somewhere gathering dust. In the unlikely event that I do need it, I usually can’t find it or remember where I put it last. The worst is I find the drill but not the correct drill bit. You can extrapolate this example to a ladder, pick, hammer, screwdriver, tape measure etc. Try finding an allen key or a number 13 spanner.

I would pay handsomely for a service that could simply rent out these things to me per hour and come pick up after I am done. Great app opportunity right there.

Coming back to my coffeece colleague, I believe all the guy needs is somewhere to go sleep and clean up and his chances of getting his life back on track would be that much better. He could drive alternate shifts in an Uber, with tools in it in case someone needs a number 13 spanner.

4 thoughts on “Rethinking social housing

  1. Isaac Motladi says:

    One can price many things, however, it’s near impossible to put a price on emotions… To share a space as you put it or home (not a house) means opening yourself to some stranger(s) which brings a whole lot of issues to the table, i.e. safety, cleanliness etc so I don’t see that working out. I would say the Airbnb and Uber reference is a “round peg in a square hole” kinda thing because the personnel are just too different. Perhaps government should create some sort of accommodation for the “down (temp. or perm.)and ‘potentially’ out” street wanderers…

    Does the relentless and unwavering pursuit of business and labelled a true entrepreneur mean that everything you’re involved in, every experience you enjoy has to be linked with a financial return? I think everyone needs a personal (100% unshared) thing to remain balanced as an individual. A home for me represents a time out, a rejuvenation plug and even if I was at the lower lsm (RDP) market, that wouldn’t change…

    Maybe because I’m married…

    Sorry to blab, I just enjoyed the blog. Interesting view on life

    1. Miles Kubheka says:

      Thanks for the feedback!
      My thoughts though are that we put too much value on ownership. I think value should be in utility in other words the value you get from the “asset” and not the asset itself. I also think if you can’t afford to own a house it is better to have access to using one than not having one.
      When you start making cash you buy your own home and do whatever pleases you.

  2. Agnat Max Makgoale says:

    Nice one Mr Kubheka. I hope you recognize me when I meet in your expansive coffeece one of these days

    Keep up the inspiration.

    1. Miles Kubheka says:

      Hi bro! Happy birthday we should have coffee at the coffeece and catch up!

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