Rent paid but no home to go to

2017-06-06 06:00
Evicted from the Haven night shelter, Tom Els spends his days at Claremont Library.PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

Evicted from the Haven night shelter, Tom Els spends his days at Claremont Library.PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

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A 55-year-old homeless man wants his money back after he was evicted from the Haven night shelter in Claremont.

Tom Els says he paid his rent to stay at the shelter in May, but seven days later he was evicted.

He says he has stayed in the shelter for almost a year and no-one had a problem with him, but recently the new manager told him he could not stay there any longer – with no explanation given.

When he asked about the fees he had paid he was allegedly told there was a space for him in Fish Hoek and they refused to pay him back.

“I have been to the shelter more than once in the past three weeks to ask about my money but still there is no answer. How can they expect me to survive without money? When I was kicked out I had already used the balance left of my disability grant and I was forced to stay on the street,” says Els.

“I need my money,” he adds.

He says he paid R900 monthly rent out of his R1500 disability grant.

He says the streets of Claremont have been a nightmare for him as he was recently robbed of some of his belongings and has witnessed several other robberies whilst he would pretend to be asleep out in the cold.

He says should he have had money he would have gone elsewhere to look for a place to stay, but he had to wait until he received the next grant payment last week Thursday. Currently he spends most of his time at the nearby library, reading books, and then goes to find shelter on the streets.

Asked about his behaviour while he was still at the shelter he admits to having gone there drunk but says he never got in trouble or disturbed anyone.

“Sometimes I would be drunk but they never threw me out. I never caused a problem when I returned. Now why didn’t they wait until the end of the month?”

Lionel Adams, manager of the shelter, confirms that Els was evicted earlier last month and has not been reimbursed. He says they would consider refunding him for the three weeks he did not stay there.

Adams says the reason for his eviction was Els’s drinking habit.

“He came to the shelter under the influence of alcohol and he was warned. I told him to leave because we cannot put people who really need help under that ­circumstance.”

Other residents at the shelter, who say they are not allowed to speak to anyone about the shelter, say Els is not the only one who has been evicted and had problems getting their money back.

“Bongani was evicted too; we are worried about him. We do not know why he was evicted and he also wants his money,” one resident says.

“Everything happening here is strictly confidential so we cannot tell you anything. Yes, there are rules around here; everyone has to respect that,” adds one of the people at the shelter.

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