Four organisations which work with homeless people in the CBD and surrounds have joined forces to open the Humanity Hub, aimed at supporting homeless people who want to improve their lives.
The hub is currently operating from the Community Chest offices in Bree Street, however, they are in search of more permanent premises to expand their project to include workshops, skills training and manufacturing of products to sell in their online Souper Market.
Mini Meltdown, Souper Troopers, Community Chest and Ladles of Love – all organisations who help street people – came together for the project to materialise.
Kerry Hoffman, founder of Souper Troopers, said in 2014, when she started the organisation, she realised that there was a need to establish a service centre at which people living on the streets could access a whole range of services that addressed every aspect of their lives holistically.
“The Humanity Hub is the culmination of a seven-year dream that saw us coming together with like-minded organisations. It is through the collaboration with Mini Meltdown, Ladles of Love and Community Chest of the Western Cape that we were able to make this a reality.”
Ladles of Love founder Danny Diliberto said the idea came to him when he decided to go homeless for 48 hours so as to experience and understand it more deeply.
“We need to find ways to allow the homeless people to live their homeless life with more dignity and respect. And so an idea of what I called the Humanity Hub came to light.
“This hub would offer proper shower facilities, secure lockers, a permanent soup kitchen with two meals a day, a vegetable garden, a counsellor room for them to talk, a computer room with internet and a room with clean decent second-hand clothing, among other things.
He collaborated with Souper Troopers, who had the same idea, and said it, “suddenly seemed right that we collaborate, and so the Humanity Hub was born”.
Communications officer at Community Chest, Desire Goliath, said with Souper Troopers’ idea of addressing the holistic needs of a human being “within the ethos of dignity, love and respect”, Community Chest endorsed and supported the project.
“As most of our staff currently work from home (because of the lockdown), we readily offered our boardroom as a temporary home for the Humanity Hub, a collaborative partnership based on these values.”
Souper Troopers operates the Humanity Hub in partnership with Mini Meltdown, and have two field workers stationed at the hub full-time.
Ms Hoffman said the field workers work in office two days a week and spend the remaining three days on the streets meeting and connecting with clients in the City Bowl, CBD and Atlantic Seaboard.
“They work with each individually on a personalised plan according to our CAST model: Connect, Assess, Support, Transform.”
Mr Diliberto said Ladles of Love are paying the stipend of one of the fieldworkers.
The services provided by the Humanity Hub include outreach and consulting; medical, addiction and psychiatric referrals; identification documents; grant applications; referrals within their network of social service providers; family mediation and reunification; job preparation and facilitation; accommodation placements; skills training and group work sessions; transport arrangements; assistance with legal issues; and ongoing support and mentoring.
Sea Point resident Peter Wagenaar of Mini Meltdown, said the organisation aligned itself with Souper Troopers after receiving support from them when they faced daily harassment for feeding homeless and vulnerable people during lockdown last year – which culminated in the burning of their Mini Cooper on Beach Road last November.
He said: “As co-operators of the hub, we work with Souper Troopers as a team of caring individuals who understand that we come from a place of privilege and good fortune and that together, we can make a huge difference in their lives albeit one at a time.
“We strategise and pool our resources and knowledge to achieve the most positive outcomes to make differences in many less fortunate lives – generally being treated with disdain by society and in particular law enforcement, among others.”
Ms Hoffman said word about the Humanity Hub has spread on the street, and people who have been disappointed so often seek support. “Clients walk into the Humanity Hub feeling dejected and alone, but leave with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. It’s amazing to see what a bit of hope can do for a person’s mental health.”
The Humanity Hub is currently looking for a permanent space for its operation, but is temporarily housed at the Community Chest offices at 82 Bree Street and is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8.30am till 3pm.
People can help by donating clothing, shoes, toiletries, water, and non-perishable food/snacks, which can be dropped off at the hub on Mondays and Thursdays between 9am and 2pm.
Ms Hoffman said financial donations are also most welcome and anyone who has any particular skills or talents they would like to offer clients, can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.