I pray they will take the first small step to a new world.
I pray that people with good intentions won’t help them to become helpless.
I pray for those who have a home to return to and let go of the evil that keeps them on the streets.
I pray for those who are being infiltrated by robbers and thieves who make life difficult.
These robbers must be caught and brought to justice. They are not homeless. They use us.
I never thought it would come to this, but we used to worry about how law enforcement, the SAPS and the Central City Improvement District treat us. Today we are more hassled by our own people.
The violence, abuse and theft are getting out of hand. Men hitting women with their fists. I kid you not. There is this aggressive undertone.
With more people on Snapscan and debit cards, cash flow is at a very low point.
People parking cars give very little these days. The worst is when a guy pulls up, tells you to watch the car and that he’ll be back in three hours, but comes back and gives you nothing. I have seen it with my own eyes. The disappointment on the car guard’s face speaks volumes.
It is getting dire on our streets. Job opportunities are spoken about but not much has come of it.
Certain NGOs are kept “hostage” not knowing if funding will be made available for the next financial year.
The people who make these decisions must realise they are dealing with humans, not just statistics.
We are sitting with The Space in Culemborg almost filled to capacity. Living in a church is no solution, either. The House of God is not a hostel, nor a shelter. Winter is just around the corner. There are empty buildings and underground parking lots that might be a solution in case we run out of space.
Sending people off to Paarl or Ceres is great, but are there any work opportunities? Will they be able to earn some cash?
The Dignity Project had meetings with some senior staff members at the SAPS. Issues around human rights and the problem with homeless people not taking their medication were discussed.
It is good to have a relationship with the SAPS where one can talk and find solutions to the issues homeless people have. It is no longer “them against us”.
There are many NGOs looking after the homeless. We salute them! I wish that there were companies who could hire and train some of us for jobs.
Construction, painting, to mention a few, could be a possibility. Only through employment has one the possibility to seriously start a new life. It gives a person direction, responsibilities, structure, routine and a sense of pride. Something we all lack. Help us to help ourselves. So we can then help others.
* 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.