Campaign to help homeless

The City Central Improvement District (CCID) launched its Hope for the Homeless fundraising campaign to support six NGOs working with homeless people in the city centre.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) has launched its Hope for the Homeless fundraising campaign, which is aimed at providing support to those on the streets for the remainder of the lockdown. 

The campaign forms part of the CCID’s annual Show You Care initiative which, through the support of the public, aims to raise R100 000 for the hundreds of homeless people who live in the city centre. Last year, the campaign raised over R85 000.

“We have the largest homeless population in the Cape Town Metro (over 700 people) and this impacts on everything that we do,” said CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos.

“The aim of the campaign is to create awareness and support for the work done by the CCID’s social and field workers who interact with the homeless community every day, as well as to highlight the stellar work done by our six main NGO partners.”

Largely social media driven, with video and still footage from filmmaker Chad Nathan, the campaign will shine a spotlight on the Cape Town city centre’s homeless people, sharing their stories.

Pat Eddy, CCID social development department manager, says the campaign was perfectly timed. “Our homeless population is currently living on cold, wet streets. The Covid-19 pandemic is also particularly challenging to this community, who are possibly even more vulnerable than the general population. Hopefully, this campaign will make more of us reflect on our personal comforts and how we can make a difference to others. Please consider donating if you can. Collectively, we can change lives.”

Khulisa Solutions is one of the beneficiaries of the campaign. 

Strategic partnership manager, Jesse Laitinen, said due to the lockdown, the NGO had lost funding. 

“Without doubt, the pandemic and lockdown worsened the already bad situation of our key population living on the street. Loss of income, increased harassment but also loss of services and food were some of the key challenges they faced.”

On the other hand, she said,  the loss of income by Backpackers had suddenly made these facilities available for housing homeless.  

“We have succeeded in opening two houses for chronic homeless people with severe substance use/ mental health issues. It is amazing and very challenging work. We are learning every day.”

She said the CCID campaign highlights the need of street people and challenges or gaps in state programmes and policies.

Ms Laitinen said last year, the donation from the CCID was used for uniforms for beneficiaries, including T-shirts, rain suits, overalls and caps. “Because Streetscapes as a project does not provide handouts but hand-ups, the campaign support is more like a gift that keeps on giving.”

Another beneficiary is The Homestead, which cares for street children. 

Director Paul Hooper said with the lockdown, they have seen a growing number of children begging on the street, being used to sell cigarettes and being sexually exploited in some areas.

However, in the CBD, there was a marked reduction in the number of children on the street due to less tourism.

He said The Homestead has provided food parcels to the most desperate of families and continued the services under very challenging and difficult circumstances. 

The donation from the campaign would help provide food parcels and PPE equipment, said Mr Hooper. 

Other beneficiaries include Straatwerk, which focuses on rehabilitation programmes;  The Hope Exchange, which provides the homeless with basic services; Ons Plek, which offers a safe, developmental space for girls who have lived, worked or begged on Cape Town’s streets; and Youth Solutions Africa, which has multiple projects from a night shelter and feeding scheme to youth development.

To donate to the campaign, visit showyoucare.co.za

You can also donate winter clothes, shoes, bedding and non-perishables by dropping the items in one of 20 branded wheelie bins, rolled out in buildings around the city centre.