Some kids live in drains as city has no shel­ters

Daily Dispatch - - News - By SIYA TSEWU

THERE are no home­less shel­ters in East Lon­don and the most des­ti­tute mem­bers of so­ci­ety rely on the kind­ness of churches and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Lynne Glover, of City Life Church, said they had fed peo­ple from their soup kitchen ev­ery Satur­day morn­ing for the past decade, with the num­bers hav­ing risen four­fold from 70 peo­ple to 300.

“We have prayer meet­ings be­fore we give out the food.

“Over the last few years, the peo­ple who come to the soup kitchen are dif­fer­ent. In the past, we never had women, white men or chil­dren.

“Now we have seen an in­crease in the num­ber of those peo­ple who come through,” she said.

Glover said 12 chil­dren be­tween the ages of 10 and 15 came for sus­te­nance ev­ery other Satur­day.

“Some of the peo­ple are home­less. They sleep in the streets in Quigney or South­ern­wood, while oth­ers live in the bush on the North East Ex­press­way.

“Some peo­ple are not home­less but they are hun­gry. We have a guy that walks from Dun­can Vil­lage be­cause he says this is the only warm meal he gets for the week.

“We do this be­cause we know that be­ing a Chris­tian is not about go­ing to church ev­ery Sun­day. It is about be­ing kind to one another as Je­sus has in­structed us,” Glover said.

Port Rex Li­ons pres­i­dent Les­lie Hu­man re­it­er­ated that there were no home­less shel­ters in the city.

He said vol­un­teers reg­u­larly pro­vided sand­wiches and soup to pock­ets of home­less peo­ple liv­ing rough in the city cen­tre.

“In lower Ox­ford Street, near Fort Hare Uni­ver­sity, there are about 50 peo­ple – women, men and chil­dren – liv­ing on the em­bank­ment in wooden struc­tures,” said Hu­man.

“They start eat­ing im­me­di­ately be­cause they are so hun­gry.

“When you see two and three­year-olds, both white and black, come be­cause they are look­ing for food, it breaks your heart.”

Hu­man said he was shocked to see young boys who ap­peared to live in stormwa­ter drains in Ox­ford Street.

“When you stop [to hand out food] just one boy is there but sud­denly there are more.”

Hu­man said the city was in “dire need” of a home­less shel­ter.

“Even if it’s just a roof over their heads at night be­cause there are home­less peo­ple all over liv­ing in lit­tle pock­ets.”

So­cial de­vel­op­ment pro­vin­cial spokesman Mzuk­isi Solani said they had 22 Com­mu­nity Nu­tri­tion and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tres (CNDC) for food, around the prov­ince.

In the BCM area these in­cluded Onikayo in Bhong­weni, Shalom in Dun­can Vil­lage and Si­phumeze in Dim­baza.

She said their obli­ga­tion was to en­sure fam­i­lies were re­united.

“We do not have raids around town, or col­lect peo­ple and dump them in one house. We do our best to re­unite peo­ple with their loved ones,” she said. — siyat@ dis­patch.co.za

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