1. Do not assume that every homeless person wants to be helped. The homeless community is made up of many individuals all with their own personal stories ranging from personal or domestic trauma, mental health challenges, substance abuse, unemployment and will now include a growing community of recently released criminals from the prisoners (6000 to be released in the Western Cape alone)
2. The City has an active Street People Unit that is deployed across the city to engage with all homeless individuals to offer a number of opportunities; access to pre-shelters, access to shelters, rehabilitation, Identity Document support, re-integration, re-unification if they so choose, upskilling programmes as well as employment opportunities.
3. We have in the past few months contributed R30 million to support existing shelters as well as NGO service providers that work directly with the homeless community. These organisations and shelters address the needs of the homeless individual from a holistic perspective with the ultimate aim to help them out of homelessness.
4. The city is also in the process of working with existing shelters to increase their bed numbers by erecting prefab structures on city land that they can manage as part of their shelter. We are in the process of completing works in Retreat, Shaapkraal, Kensignton and will move on to Wynberg, District 6 amongst other
5. The city has also activated an additional Safe Space in Bellville and is in the process of expanding our safe space in Culemborg.
6. Social Development is appealing to all communities to stop feeding homeless people on the streets, to stop giving clothes, to stop giving money to homeless people on the streets and to rather support these shelters. Encourage homeless people to access the shelter facilities where they are able to get a meal, shower, bed and other services. We can only make progress here if we work together to help our homeless communities. By enabling a homeless person to remain on the street we lock them out of an opportunities that are available in shelters. Take all acts of kindness to an established shelter or NGO.
Source – Clr Carol Bew
Footnote – for more info view http://mobile.bkmwatch.org.za/homeless.html