Haven night shelter turns 18

2016-05-03 06:00
Celebrating their gift of a chest freezer are, from left, Kevin Alexander (PRO), Muriel Gwiya (volunteer), Chrislene Sadan (centre manager), Reverend Kevin Williams (chaplain) and Cherne Williams-Jacobs (social worker). PHOTO: gary van dyk

Celebrating their gift of a chest freezer are, from left, Kevin Alexander (PRO), Muriel Gwiya (volunteer), Chrislene Sadan (centre manager), Reverend Kevin Williams (chaplain) and Cherne Williams-Jacobs (social worker). PHOTO: gary van dyk

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A haven of hope for the homeless in Kensington celebrated a “coming of age” with its 18th birthday recently.

Opening on 18 April 1998, the Haven Night Shelter on the corner of 13th Avenue and Dapper Road, has been serving the community well and even got a surprise gift to help them with their activities.

Kevin Alexander, public relations officer (PRO) for the organisation, explains that the shelter was opened by a group of tenacious community members who were determined to help the many homeless people who were sleeping on the streets. “The idea of establishing a night shelter in the area was first opposed by a group of community members who strongly resisted the idea.

“They were organising marches and placard protests near the proposed site for the building, arguing that having vagrants and homeless people in the area would devalue their properties and increase crime in the area.

However, the majority of residents, including many organisations and clubs such as the Freedom Riders Motorcycle Club, were keen to help the homeless, he says. “Eventually the piece of ground was acquired from the City of Cape Town, and The Haven Night Shelter in Kensington was established.”

Today, the shelter provides a temporary home to 60 homeless clients, rehabilitating them through life skills programmes and counselling sessions by a registered social worker to eventually reunite them with their families or reintegrate them into society.

“We received many blessings over the years from sponsors and donors,” added Alexander.

“This year we also received a surprise gift from our chaplain, Reverend Kevin Williams, who donated a brand new chest freezer to the facility.”

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