Hub to help the homeless

The HOPE project hopes to help the areas homeless people.

If all goes well, a part of Helen Suzman Boulevard could be used as a hub to help the homeless on the Atlantic seaboard.

This follows the launch of the Homelessness Outreach Prevention and Education (HOPE) initiative by the Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SFB).

The project aims to unite residents to manage the issue of homeless people in the area in a single operation.

The association said they recognise that Covid-19 will have an impact on Sea Point, Bantry Bay and Fresnaye and they are being proactive by preparing for the challenge.

SFB chairman Michael Ender said South Africa’s particular socio-economic context forces many people to leave their homes to seek employment in city centres, or to escape abuse.

However, many cannot find work and, as a result, they are left homeless.

Miles October who works with the executive committee said there have been initiatives before but they haven’t worked out because residents and all the stakeholders were not working together.

He said the initial focus will be to employ field workers and find a suitable hub from which they can coordinate their activities. The activities include running programmes that will help the homeless get skills, jobs and possibly be reunited with their families.

He said they have applied to the City to lease a portion of Helen Suzman Boulevard to erect a container or a wendy house where the field workers can work from.

“This has always been the problem with these areas, there’s no proper space that can be used to run programmes and help the homeless in the area and it’s a difficult task because of the increasing number of people coming in to live here,” he said.

The facility will also serve as a drop-off point for donations and food which will be distributed to other shelters and safe spaces. “In order for us to extend this initiative to more areas with greater effectiveness, residents and ratepayers are urgently requested to join and contribute to make this service as good as it can be,” they said.

Ward 54 Councillor, Nicola Jowell, supported the initiative.

“Job creation and skills development projects remain in demand. Community partnerships are so necessary to assist the homeless collectively.”