Plans for seaboard homeless delayed

Homeless people in Sea Point are in limbo as the City is still trying to find spaces for them.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavisus, he said temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards would be identified for homeless people.

He said sites were also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.

However, homeless people in Green and Sea Point were still on the streets during the first week of the lockdown.

Several were still using Saunders Beach to bath and could be seen strolling around Beach Road towards Seacliff Road during the day. Some were still on the pavements of Beach Road and Rocklands beach area.

Paul Vutha, who has been staying in Sea Point said he knew about Covid-19 and didn’t think there was a plan for them.

“I’ve heard about coronavirus and some residents have offered me masks. Many of us are still here and we’re not sure if anyone will come assist us,” he said.

Sharing the sentiments, Warren Isaacs said he heard that officials would pick them up and transport them to town. “We’ve been waiting and we know about the virus but we have nowhere else to go,” he said.

Ward councillor, Nicola Jowell, said the pick-ups were due to start on the Atlantic Seaboard on Sunday but issues at the parking lot adjacent to the Culemborg Safe Space, had delayed this.

The City has erected a tent and installed sanitation facilities at the site where they will be accommodating the destitute.

The City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, Dr Zaid Badroodien, said the search for temporary shelter was taking some time, after initial sites, touted by the national government, were subsequently withdrawn.

“We understand that there has been immense interest in this particular issue, and we assure the public that we are doing everything possible to provide safe spaces for our street people during this challenging time,” he said.

“Numerous other options are being considered, but have not been finalised, as the spaces are not readily available for habitation without extensive work being carried out first.”