Giv­ing hope to the home­less

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Dale Hes

A NEW PILOT project in Cape Town is show­ing that home­less peo­ple can be turned into pro­duc­tive mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

Un­em­ployed, without a roof over their heads, and of­ten sep­a­rated from their fam­i­lies, home­less peo­ple are among the most dis­ad­van­taged mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

While many home­less shel­ters of­fer only a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion, a new pilot project in Cape Town is show­ing that home­less peo­ple can be turned into pro­duc­tive mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

Opened in June this year, the Culem­borg Safe Space has helped over 268 peo­ple to start re­build­ing their lives.

Res­i­dents at the Safe Space get as­sis­tance to find jobs to re­unite with their fam­i­lies and to get ac­cess to skills devel­op­ment train­ing.

The fa­cil­ity also of­fers so­cial ser­vices such as as­sist­ing with iden­tity doc­u­ments and so­cial grants, as well as pro­vid­ing ac­cess to health­care and sub­stance abuse pro­grammes.

Res­i­dents are al­lowed to stay at the fa­cil­ity for be­tween four and six months, dur­ing which time they are as­signed a stor­age locker, sleep­ing bag, blan­ket and toi­letries.

In part­ner­ship with soup kitchens and other cater­ing ser­vices, most meals are pro­vided.

Ju­naid James (26) is one of the res­i­dents at the Safe Space. Qual­i­fied as a bar­man, with fur­ther ex­pe­ri­ence in weld­ing, fit­ting and turn­ing, James ended up on the streets due to a drug prob­lem.

“The man­age­ment of the Safe Space as­sisted me to get sup­port for my ad­dic­tion prob­lem and I am now on my way to a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre to get help. Once I over­come my prob­lem, I would like to be em­ployed again,” said James.

May­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for Safety and Se­cu­rity; and So­cial Ser­vices, Al­der­man JP Smith, said that sim­i­lar safe spa­ces will hope­fully be set up in other ar­eas of Cape Town.

Karen Nel, who is an­other res­i­dent at the fa­cil­ity, said Culem­borg is an ex­am­ple to the rest of the coun­try to find new so­lu­tions to the home­less prob­lem.

“May the thou­sands of home­less peo­ple find their way home, may the hope­less find hope again, and the poor a so­lu­tion to end the poverty and so­cio-eco­nomic prob­lems,” said Nel.

Res­i­dents at the Culem­borg Safe Space re­ceive cloth­ing and other es­sen­tials on ar­rival.

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