Danny's Diary: In 2019 we need proactive solutions for our homeless
After a year that was marked by political mind-games, global political unhappiness, Brexit, a refugee crisis and religious confrontations, I think it is safe to say that the Christmas break did us all a great deal of good in some way or another.
We might have overspent, eaten too much and got carried away at the dessert table, but we at least, even just for a moment, were in our own zones of contentment.
I was at the midnight mass held at St George’s Cathedral on the 24th. Also known as the “people’s” cathedral, St George’s is the oldest in Southern Africa.
The next morning I went to Pride Shelter, where we had a church service in the garden.
Reverend Beulah Durrheim from the Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church conducted the service.
I really enjoy being outside.
We prayed amongst the sound of the birds.
After the service we were spoilt with homemade cupcakes and juice.
This has been a year filled with contradictions. The Opec countries pumped out oil while we mere mortals had an embargo against all things plastic.
Down with plastic straws and bags, and once-off usable items. Re-use, re-cycle is the buzzword.
Ironically, this multibillion-rand industry is no longer a viable option for the homeless to earn a buck as we get blocked from all sides. (This monster called “aggressive begging” was created by the powers that be). Make up your mind.
Do you want us to be independent, earning our own legal way? Because invading Greenmarket Square to hustle the tourists is not an option.
This year is going to be a year when we are going to request more involvement in issues concerning the homeless.
Catch up on outstanding issues that are idling in the background.
We documented human rights abuse, and before we lay charges, we would like to hear both sides of the story.
Fair is fair. Some people just have to have a reality check and a mind shift.
As I said before, corruption is alive and well.
Funny how so many out there know what is going on, but nobody dares rock the boat and do something. It’s almost like there is a memorandum of understanding between legal and illegal entities.
My hope for 2019 is that we will engage in proactive solutions whereby everybody benefits.
Local businesses should maybe consider creating a fund that could assist the homeless to find long-term accommodation, work, etc.
Another issue close to my heart is our streetkids. We need to register them.
They need maybe twice a week to have shower facilities, a warm meal and a space to express themselves, away from the adults.
I am aware of the red tape when dealing with minors, but they need our support and care.
After all, they are the next generation. They need healthcare, among other services.
Even though they are streetwise, they are still children, who are exposed to the underbelly of our city.
Sexual exploitation, drugs and malnutrition are things that no kid should be exposed to.
This year is going to be a year where we are going to request more involvement in issues concerning the homeless
* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.