Residents association rejects 'the City’s' plan to shelter homeless in Strandfontein
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Cape Town - The Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents Association has objected to the City’s apparent plan to house homeless people in a facility in the area as part of its winter readiness plan.
The association’s chairperson Mario Oostendurp said they only learnt of the City's plan on Tuesday, and there was no consultation with the directly affected communities, ratepayers and residents.
Oostendurp said in principle it was a good initiative; however, considering the previous “infamous” 2020 Strandfontein Homeless Camp, none of the homeless persons from the area or those who lived in the immediate and surrounding informal settlements were accommodated.
“This, however is not new to us, as the broader community of Strandfontein, Bayview and San Remo; it seems the City once again appears to be disrespecting our existence as a community, homeowners and ratepayers.This beckons the question as to who will be accommodated and from which areas the homeless persons will be sourced.
“Will this again be from the more affluent areas, where homeless persons are hunted down, in an effort to clear the streets of undesirable persons, in a well executed political and racialised plan, which will see the relocation of 100- plus homeless persons relocated to the periphery of the city. Further to this, there are concerns within the community that the intake may expand to larger numbers and the occupation period be extended,” said Oostendurp.
He said the City, in its previous homeless camp initiative, had not been transparent or truthful in its dealings with community organisations and the general public.
Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said the City wasn't opening a shelter but as part of the winter readiness programme approved an application for additional resource support by the Haven Night Shelter to open up additional temporary shelter space, making use of a church facility in the area.
He said the support provided was aid in the form of blankets, mattresses, non-perishable food items and toiletries to qualifying shelters who were able to increase their bed spaces to meet the increased demand for shelter space during winter.
“It is disappointing that efforts to support and shelter vulnerable individuals who sleep rough on streets are being obstructed. It is further deplorable that efforts are being undertaken to prevent street people from accessing safer and dignified shelter opportunities.
“If it is the preference of the ratepayers association that these extra beds are not welcome then this is an injustice to our street people that they must shoulder,” said Badroodien.
Badroodien said in order to encourage fact-sharing, the Haven will further consult the ward councillor and the support ready to be accessed would be halted until it was required.