City of Cape Town’s homeless facilities at full capacity
Cape Town - While the coronavirus lockdown and economic downturn have pushed a flood of homeless people into the city centre, the City says all its facilities for the homeless are at full capacity.
U-Turn chief executive Sam Vos said: “There is a great need for services in the City centre for homeless people and what the lockdown has shown is that the demand for services is greater. We are aware of many shelters closing due to the lockdown and that has contributed to the demand.”
The City says all of its facilities are currently at full capacity. Its last count in November 2018 showed that the number of street people stood at just over 6 000. Approximately one-third are living in shelters around the metropole. In the CBD the homeless have moved to vacant parcels of lands in District Six and empty parking lots.
District Six Civic Association chairperson Asa Salie said: “There is a noticeable increase of homeless on the field alongside Hanover Street. There are approximately 30 makeshift homes next to the phase 3 development.
“So, if we couldn't do anything about this over six to seven years, where the homeless has increased tenfold, I really don't know how this is going to be remedied. Now there is Covid-19, how can even this be managed and controlled if the numbers just increase on the field. The residents who are supposed occupy the 108 units in March/April will live right next to approximately 179 homeless. Is this fair? Is this right? Who is responsible to clear the fields?”
Community Chest chief executive Lorenzo Davids said: “The fundamental issue is that we have known about the lockdown for eight months and now we are in the same situation and it has not been solved. We need the City to consult with us as soon as possible.”
Davids said the homeless could not be placed in another Strandfontein debacle.
Mayco member for community and health services Dr Zahid Badroodien said: “All three of the City’s safe spaces are currently at capacity in terms of Covid-19 regulations which stipulate that adequate social distancing measures need to be in place. In terms of Grant in Aid funding, 10 organisations received support from the City in July 2020, totalling R15 387 210.”