Homeless shelters to get winter boost

The Haven Night Shelters, Hassan Khan, was grateful for the donation.

Homeless shelters will get R700000 in aid as part of the City of Cape Town’s winter readiness programme, which was launched in Athlone last week.

The money will help 16
organisations pay for food, toiletries and bedding for street people during the cold, wet months from May to September, according to Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health.

The aid will also help shelters provide temporary mattress space and create cooking and cleaning jobs for the unemployed.

Craig du Plooy is helping drug addicts living on the street get clean, as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.

He has been staying at the City’s Safe Space under the Culemborg Bridge since last year. In March, he completed the first stage of a drug-rehabilitation programme.

“I am clean for four months and seven days now, and now I can help people,” he said.

“My family has supported me, and my progress has been remarkable for them. I am pushing myself to become a better person.”

Chief executive officer of the Haven Night Shelters, Hassan Khan, said they could now offer more bed space to walk-ins and referrals.

“Now we can use the money that we have to pay our municipal bills, and we don’t have to use it for non-perishable foods. We also need to see to bedding and blankets because once the people leave they often need to take a blanket with them, and this and new mattresses must be bought every year,” he said.

Head of the City’s street people unit, Lorraine Frost, said 800 homeless people had needed a place to sleep last year. This year the City would provide an extra 247 beds on top of the additional bed space provided by shelters.

“We look forward togettingmore people off the streets this year and helping more organisations to help more people,” she said.

Mr Badroodien said there was a public misconception that all homeless people were criminals, but people ended up on the street for various reasons, including traumatic backgrounds.

“We need to start by understanding where they come from, and I hope that we are able to help develop and support all the good work that the organisations do,” he said.

Call the City toll free at 0800 872 201 to find out how you can help. Contact the Safe Space at 021 801 0140 or streetpeoplesafespace@gmail.com