LOTS project makes a slight difference

2015-11-25 06:23

ADULTS living on the streets who have been taken in by the Living on the Streets (LOTS) project and living in Havelock Road, continue to engage in drugs and beg on the streets during the day to feed their habit reported Debbie Harrison of Businesses Fighting Crime.

Harrison reported at the recent Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Businesses NGO forum meeting at the Royal Showgrounds recently, that the LOTS project continues to be difficult to get off the ground as these people are still committed to their street life.

She said the house is filled to capacity with 36 people living in the house meant for only 18, with 11 people with criminal records, 16 on whoonga and the rest on either dagga or glue.

Harrison said their addictions are so intense that every morning she checks if some of them are still breathing for fear of them overdosing on drugs.

“Some even try to sell whoonga to the other in the house,” she said. When asked where the money comes from to buy the drugs, Harrison said they continue to beg on the streets and the money they are given by the public, who have good intentions, is what is used to feed their habit. She therefore appeals to the public to stop giving them money, but rather give the money to an organisation that works with them.

Harrison mentioned an incident which resulted in 15 blankets, donated by the city’s disaster management, being stolen and those people were asked to leave the shelter without resorting to violence.

“There is no violence at the shelter anymore. We need to be polite to them, some of their life stories are ghastly,” she said. She added the people are dealt with in a non-violent manner.

However, Harrison said it was all not bad news as some people come forward and want to change their lives and reform from street life.

Jailbreak Caterers has also come on board and provides a meal to all occupants in the house for R30 a day, seven days a week. A long-term goal is for Jailbreak Caterers to train someone in the house who will cook meals themselves.

There will also be life skills taught at the house, but the first priority is to address their individual drug addiction habits.

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