Homeless people browse through donated clothes at a pop-up clothing stall in Milnerton. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The City will today host a Street People’s Summit in observance of World Homeless Day, with various stakeholders working with the homeless on issues affecting these vulnerable people.

“The event is aimed at identifying gaps in provision of services to street people and developing an improved interface model between the City and organisations that provide services to street people,” said mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien.

“NGOs will have an opportunity to highlight their work and successes. One of the discussion points is sector and City engagement around working together to provide social support for street people,” he said.

Badroodien said the event would be attended by 240 street people and would include a pop-up clothing stall, dignity station and hair grooming.

“The City recognises the importance of involving all stakeholders in the discussion relating to how we can better serve our street people community,” he said.

Members of U-Turn Homeless Ministries were invited to speak at the event, with Sam Vos, the director of the organisation, addressing the different spheres of homelessness.

“In terms of this event and going forward, we want the City to start looking at long-term rehabilitation and reintegration of the homeless back into society and with their families,” Vos said.

Lucien Lewin, director at Dingley Marshall Inc - the law firm acting on behalf of seven homeless people fined by the City - said he hoped that at the event, homeless people would get the opportunity to speak for themselves, without NGOs speaking for them.

Caryn Gootkin, executive member at Souper Troopers, said she would not be attending the summit because the organisation had its own plans for the day.

“Although I am unable to be there, there are certain issues that I would like the City to address, which include revisiting by-laws that lead to the homeless being fined and finding a more humane and decent way of dealing with the issue of homelessness, with law enforcement taken to task for harassing these people,” Gootkin said.


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Cape Argus