NGOs from different faith communities provided food in the emergency shelters. Picture: Motswari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
NGOs from different faith communities provided food in the emergency shelters. Picture: Motswari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Denis Hurley Centre raises R1.6m for Durban's homeless

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Jul 31, 2020

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The Denis Hurley Centre, a faith-based community upliftment organisation, has commended the people of Durban for their donations amounting to R1,661,684.78 collected in an emergency response drive to provide shelter for the city’s homeless population.

The funds collected are to be disbursed to NGOs that provide services for the homeless in Durban.

“Between 30 March and 21 July there were 634 separate transactions,” said the DHC in a statement on Friday.

“This is testimony to the generosity of ordinary Durbanites,” they added.

After the introduction of South Africa's Covid-19 lockdown in March, municipalities around the country were tasked with providing emergency shelters to homeless people.

In Durban, the office of the deputy mayor, Belinda Scott, along with the director of the DHC, Raymond Perrier, and a task team from a range of NGOs created a system of emergency shelters.

The shelters, at their peak, housed 1 700 people across 11 venues.

Then, after receiving numerous donations from individuals and corporate companies, a decision was made to have an integrated appeal for funds co-ordinated by the DHC.

On March 30, just three days after the lockdown had begun, a public appeal was launched, giving the DHC’s banking details while urging donors to use “COVID” as a reference.

On April 1, a more descriptive appeal was published for those seeking clarification.

On April 16, the system that the DHC used to disburse the funds was published.

The system stated that any NGO providing services could apply for funds after submitting the relevant documentation.

Trustees from the DHC were in charge of disbursing the funds.

The trustees, to avoid a conflict of interest, then tasked a separate advisory group consisting of five members to recommend ways of properly disbursing the funds.

The five members included Dave Richter, chairman of Grace Family Church; Jeremy Droyman, president of the KZN Jewish Board of Deputies; Milo Mahomed, Muslim community social activist; Yasmin Rajah of Refugee Social Services; and Jackie Tau, socio-economic development manager of Aspen Pharmacare Group.

The NGOs that benefited from the appeal were SANPUD (SA Network of People Who Use Drugs), Denis Hurley Centre, RAUF (Refocus and Upliftment Foundation), Silethokuhle Organisation, We Are Durban, Nelesco, Thanda Bantu, Siphila Ngomusa Community Development, Highway Christian Community and the City Celebration Charitable Trust.

“The focus was to grant funds to NGOs working with the designated emergency shelters and so a few applications were rejected since they fell outside this scope,” said the DHC.

The DHC expressed its gratitude towards Scott, who ensured that “talk was turned into action”.

African News Agency

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