According to the Western Cape government’s 2019 statistics, there are about 4862 homeless people in the greater Cape Town area. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA
Cape Town - According to the Western Cape government’s 2019 statistics, there are about 4862 homeless people in the greater Cape Town area, with more than 700 living in the central business district (CBD).

Hassan Khan, chief executive officer of the Haven Night Shelter, said: “There are 15 different shelters that fall under the umbrella of the Haven Night Shelter, one of which is an old-age home. Every night, we have around 1200 people.

“We provide accommodation, food, ablution facilities and have a social worker on site to deal with many different issues. People can use our facilities for free for 30 days, and thereafter we start charging them R12 a day.”

Khan said that if people do not have the money to pay for the services after the 30-day period, they will then be asked to do manual chores for an hour each day. “This social service is province-funded and we make sure that there is always space for people. Even if we have to put mattresses in the dining rooms, we always make space.”

According to mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien, there are organisations in the Western Cape that accept refugees, but these foreign nationals must have the necessary paperwork.

“The City does provide a transitional safe space to overnight under the Culemborg bridge in the Cape Town CBD. We currently have 211 clients making use of the space.

“In addition, the City has a winter readiness programme that offers support to qualifying shelters.”

He said that because winter is especially difficult for those living on the street, these shelters ensure that as many street people as possible have access to a warm bed, a hot meal and toiletries.

The Hope Exchange is a social care facility based in Roeland Street.

“Homeless people can take a shower and wash their clothes, and we provide them with toiletries and a token that they can hand to the service dining rooms on Canterbury Street in exchange for a hot meal,” said director of the Hope Exchange, Peter Solomon.

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