More could be done to improve the chances of upward mobility for tenants of social housing in South Africa. The social housing policy makes no mention of upward mobility for tenants, even though this is implicit within the objectives of reducing socio-economic and spatial inequalities. We evaluate evidence of tenant-level outcomes from a sample of 1,636 households living in 10 social housing projects in Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekwini and Cape Town. The findings present a very mixed picture of the impact of social housing on such outcomes, including racial integration and upward income mobility. Failure to demonstrate household success risks jeopardising the credibility of the programme. A clear recommendation for policymakers is to update the national monitoring and evaluation framework to include regular collection of socio-economic information on tenants in order to assess the extent to which their circumstances improve over time.
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