City halts support after Haven Night Shelter and Strandfontein residents lock horns over Shelter’s plans of putting extra beds into homeless facility. Picture: Monique Duval/Daily Voice
City halts support after Haven Night Shelter and Strandfontein residents lock horns over Shelter’s plans of putting extra beds into homeless facility. Picture: Monique Duval/Daily Voice

Squabble with Strandfontein residents over extra beds for homeless

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

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Cape Town - The CEO of Haven Night Shelter Hassan Khan is expected to meet Strandfontein residents over his intentions to place 100 bed extra beds in the ID Morkel facility homeless facility, a move some residents oppose.

Following the Strandfontein Ratepayers Association opposition to this, the City had has halted its support.

Strandfontein ward councillor Elton Jansen said the 100 extra beds at the facility during the pandemic was problematic. He said the arrangement between the Protestant Church and the shelter was also irregular as it was in contravention of the lease agreement which does not support sub-leasing.

“I was not consulted as a councillor, nor was the Ratepayers Association.There are currently existing challenges with crime and loitering in the Strandfontein area. Where the proposed temporary site was situated we have four informal settlements with its existing crime-related challenges.

“In principle I am not against a shelter for street people. Even though this is a proposed short term shelter during winter I agree that no consultation was done. I found out after discovering that funding was made available – upon questioning we discovered that Mr. Khan's intention was to bring the shelter to ID Morkel in Strandfontein,” he said.

Strandfontein Homeless Action Committee member Carlos Mesquita said the shelter was Khan's way of perpetuating the most dangerous lie in this sector that there was enough shelter space and that the homeless were refusing this assistance.

“In Strandfontein close to 600 people prevented the Haven sign from being put up, despite having allowed others unchallenged and a few days later Khan was physically escorted. Khan needs to investigate why homeless people have such a negative attitude towards his organisation’s shelters, otherwise we will continue to see beds available at the Haven despite people being desperate for shelter,” said Mesquita.

Khan said he was going ahead despite the objections raised. He said in the 45 years that the shelter had been around they had constantly experienced the problem of “not in my backyard” attitude.

“There was no need to consult as you consult when you are asking for a variation order. We are going into a facility that was built to accommodate people and are not altering the nature of the building and are consistent with the zoning laws applicable.

“The ratepayers association is complaining but the nearest ratepayer is 600 metres from the building , so what legitimate concerns do they have? The nearest people from the building are in the squatter camp and I want to know why they believe there is a threat by homeless people who chose to end their homelessness,” said Khan.

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