Mayor, councillor provide feedback on homeless initiatives

Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, and councillors watch a presentation.

Homeless people living on the Atlantic Seaboard were once again on the agenda when the Green Point Ratepayers Association met last week.

The guest speakers were councillor for Ward 115, Ian McMahon, and Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, who said the City’s strategey for dealing with homelessness was to “have a significant influence“.

“We are going to have to take the bull by the horns and provide what is called alternative accommodation, because that really is the basic fundamental requirement that is required by the court system in South Africa if you are to do anything about the care intervention to get people off the street and reintegrated,” he said.

“We have set about identifying land and money for alternative accommodation and we’ve started building it. We have one safe space expansion that’s already complete at Culemborg, we have another one that’s about to start and we have three others that are, that are in development around the city in Muizenberg, in Bellville in Parklands,” he said.

Mr Hill-Lewis added that the City had budgeted R122 million for the Safe Spaces over the next three years.

“Our care interventions are there to make sure that each one of those people receives a personal visit from from one of our social development staff members, that there’s a personal assessment and there’s a referral for mental treatment, psychiatric care, addiction treatments,” he said.

The people at the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association meeting.

Mr McMahon said providing work for homeless people was helping to alleviate the negative environmental impact of the 107 homeless communities in Ward 115.

“We employed 10 homeless people from the Safe Space and a supervisor, we got a bakkie and a trailer. And in two months leading up to the end of June we created 16 areas which would go and clean and get paid for it.

“It was an outstanding project as they collected 9 813 bags of rubbish. That’s 228 bags of rubbish per day and they cleaned up the area around these hot spots areas,” said Mr McMahon.

He added that the clean-up team would be increased to 30 people as that is required in the short-term.

“You will all have noticed that the refuse delays have got much, much better in the last month or two. We continue to work on that. Solid waste, continue to do what they do every Friday morning. You’ll see under the circle that gets washed down and scrubbed and we will continue working on those things.”