When Sea Point resident Kerry Hoffman set out to feed homeless people on June 7, 2014, little did she know that her organisation – Soupertroopers – would become vital to the lives of the City’s homeless.
Since then Ms Hoffmann and her team, through their interactions with the homeless people, recognised the need to create a “service centre” to facilitate the needs of the homeless from their base in Bree Street in the city centre, in addition to providing meals.
“It (Soupertroopers) was borne out of love, from giving, our ethos is about dignity, love and respect in all we do. I saw the people on the streets and felt that I needed to extend this love, and it started in the Company’s Garden where I’d say 200 people joined us the first time.
“We did it again and soon it became a once a month event where we hosted a social to feed the needy, and the numbers grew. It’s seven years since we started and we’ve made good connections, we have the resources to assist the homeless through the Humanity Hub and there are a few success stories,” Ms Hoffman said.
To assist the homeless, the Humanity Hub uses a CAST system to connect, assess, support and transform the individuals on the street.
“We have a field worker, Tasneem Hoosain-Fielies and her assistant Moeshfieqah Bosch, and they connect with the homeless in terms of building trust with the individuals.
“They find out where they are from, what they want and what we can do for them, but first they have to trust us,” said advocacy co-ordinator Caryn Gootkin, also from Sea Point.
“We had a lady that is losing her sight, a Zimbabwean woman, that approached us at the hub. She came to Cape Town looking for a job but unfortunately she could not find work and landed up on the streets,” Ms Gootkin said.
“So she came in and told Tasneem about her situation, that she wanted to go home due to her condition. So we reached out to our supporters and within 30 minutes we raised the money to send her to home to Zimbabwe – with clean clothing, documents all in place and even a present for her mom and child.”
“On the same day, a man that lost his job due to the lockdown told us he wants to be a security guard. But being jobless he did not have money to pay for the course or get to the course. Tasneem assessed this situation promptly, we made the calls to our supporters and this gentleman is now enrolled in the course.
“Tasneem will stay in contact with them. In fact, she has about 135 people that she has assessed, and now she is checking up on their transformation.”
Soupertroopers and the Humanity Hub is 90% donor-funded, relying on individuals and a handful of corporates to support them.
“The growth of Soupertroopers was always about the organic flow, putting the word out in the streets and being honest with the homeless people and our supporters. This is how we have we grown to what we have now, to have a holistic approach to this challenge of homelessness and the Humanity Hub is the foundation for the next step, for the growth of this project,” Ms Hoffman said.