HOMELESS people shelter as best they can under the Culemborg bridge. Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)
HOMELESS people shelter as best they can under the Culemborg bridge. Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Homeless to get a boost in funding

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Oct 11, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town will be assigning R27 million for interventions for street people.

This year the City’s Social Development Department, together with Early Childhood Development, will see an increase of R4.5 million compared to last year.

The increase will be used to focus on the City’s three safe places and winter readiness programme and education.

Organisations who look out for the well-being of the homeless have proposed that the money be utilised to reintegrate them back into society, providing them with programmes to cope with rebuilding their lives.

Venetia Orgill, who feeds hundreds of homeless and runs programmes for them, said the homeless needed stability and not temporary job placement in order to be reintegrated back to their families and lives.

In the past five years, 1 600 shelter placements have been completed to help people get off the streets to 1 550 benefiting from the EPWP work placements by the City social development and ECD services, and 575 street people were reunified with family or friends.

The City’s Mayco member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, said the increase would showcase a difference compared to last year.

“The City of Cape Town’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department is spending just shy of R27 million on interventions for street people in this financial year,” he said.

“This is an increase of R4.5 million compared to the previous financial year, designed to bolster the department’s interventions in making a lasting difference in the lives of persons living on the street.

“The funding will go towards the operations of the City’s three safe spaces, winter readiness programme to lend support to shelters and ongoing awareness and education drives.

“The City will also facilitate employment opportunities for 934 street people through the Expanded Public Works Programme in this financial year, with the assistance of external shelter organisations.”

He said shelters were often a place where homeless people could be part of the process of obtaining the necessary grants and documentation to help boost their lives and that staff assisted in the reunion of many with their families.

Badroodien maintained it was a process that took time.

“Apart from helping willing participants find a temporary shelter, our staff, in conjunction with the City’s many non-governmental partners, work to help secure identity documents for individuals, which in turn help them apply for grants or to find employment,” he said.

“They facilitate referrals to medical care, but also other social services and, more importantly, they go the extra mile to help reunite people on the street with their families.

“This is not something that happens overnight, because often there are fractured family relations that need to be addressed before a reunion can happen. All of this work happens on a daily basis, but is seldom acknowledged,” said Badroodien.

Orgill said that during her experience, she found that the three-month EPWP job opportunities was not enough to kickstart the lives of homeless people.

She said there was the healing process and breaking the cycle.

“I am working with the homeless since 2004 and drug addicts. Now my focus is mainly on the homeless. I find safe places and shelters, we find that there are not enough spaces. I was approached by the homeless in the CBD saying they had to leave safe spaces one and two, they were three months in a shelter, and given EPWP positions.

“When they are done with that, the City wants them to pick up their whole broken life, find a place and move out or go back to their family. They go back to their families as they can contribute in that time while working for the three months. Then they only have one month left and they cannot contribute and land back on the streets, it's a vicious cycle.”

Weekend Argus

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