Wanted: Sleep spot

2017-03-28 06:03

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Planning is currently underway to provide a “safe space” for street people in the City Bowl.

The facility will provide temporary overnight accommodation for people living on the street, and will also give them access to social services, explains Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South).

A City of Cape Town survey in 2015 identified over 4900 street people in the CBD and surrounds. Currently there are about 2000 beds available in shelters in and around the city.

“The City’s social services directorate is currently in the planning phase for a safe space programme for street people. It is not within the City’s mandate to provide shelters for street people, but the provision of a safe space will be a first point of contact from where social services can be accessed, and a temporary space to accommodate street people while a personal development and strategy plan or referral to a shelter can be put in place for the person. The social services directorate is currently investigating appropriate spaces in the CBD to pilot the safe space project,” says Andrews.

The plan is to partner with a relevant NGO to help manage the safe space.

“This too is in planning phase,” he says.

Pat Eddy, social development manager of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), explains that the facility would be considered “pre-shelter accommodation”.

“[It will be an] interim measure that will assist those living on the street in terms of providing them with some sort of safe space in which to sleep at night and where they can have access to essential ablution facilities and hopefully other social services that will ultimately help them to access further support, whatever the requirements of the individuals may be,” she says.

“The CCID’s social development fieldworkers have often voiced the need for a safe space such as this in the central city area – a safe space that the homeless will willingly go to and be allowed to sleep, without the risk of a member of the public or a property owner complaining about where they are sleeping, and resulting in the need to ask them to move elsewhere.”

The number of people who will be accommodated will depend on the site indentified for the safe space, says Andrews.

“The intention is to offer a safe space as a first step into a reintegration programme and possible reunification with family. Social services will be offered, including placement at shelters and work opportunities will be offered through our expanded public works programme.”


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