A homeless person sleeps on the sidewalk in Claremont outside the local police station. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
A homeless person sleeps on the sidewalk in Claremont outside the local police station. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Western Cape residents receive homes while 'homelessness increases'

By Rafieka Williams Time of article published Nov 29, 2021

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Cape Town - The Department of Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers has said that over 15 000 title deeds have been handed over to people in communities across the province.

This figure is part of the mid-term review by Simmers, who took office in May 2019.

He said those who have been given occupancy within the city in places such as Forest Village, Belhar, Blue Downs and Highbury could not qualify for fully state subsidised housing and therefore affordable housing opportunities such as those were “critical”.

“We’ve embarked on reviewing our Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP), so that those who cannot access a mortgage loan from a financial institution are also able to access FLISP without having to do so,” said MEC Simmers.

“Over the past two financial years, more than R2.6 billion of the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) has been spent on contractors in the targeted groups (women and youth),” said Simmers.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless people in Cape Town is rising and demand for services for the needy has increased.

Peter Solomon, director of The Hope Exchange, said: “Without a doubt, there’s been a rapid increase in homelessness. I would say post Covid-19 lockdown we’ve seen an incremental increase.

“This has been visible just driving around Cape Town but we’ve also seen that through the increased amount for our services at our premises with new faces, because we keep a record.”

Solomon said there is a significant amount of demand during the festive season because many businesses who cater to the homeless have shut down, whereas The Hope Exchange continues to service the homeless.

Rowen Ravera-Bauer from U-Turn has said: “We have served more people this year than in the history of the organisation.”

“I think anyone who lives in Cape Town will agree there is a visible increase in homelessness,” said Ravera Bauer. She added this might not be due to Covid-19 but the fact that they have been able to reach more people.

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