Helping the homeless be ‘visible’

2019-03-05 06:00
Eva Hart of MaterialShare.

Eva Hart of MaterialShare.

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False Bay College’s Fish Hoek campus played host to the second Dignity Day and it was a success.

The event was organised by Revamp The Valley, with Social Work Connect and Benson Arendse from Coffee Conversations.

False Bay College SRC students welcomed around 50 people at the gate with registration forms, starting the process to assist the City of Cape Town’s local field workers in their efforts to understand the numbers of homeless in the area and their needs.

Of the 40 homeless people who registered, 26 did not have ID documents.

Marion Thomas from Social Work Connect said: “There is a public perception that someone who is living on the street has made the choice to do so. However, this choice to live on the street is often the better of two evils. Often a lack of employment opportunities, a lack of educational space and a lack of understanding in the public health arena is the cause of people having to make this choice. As a result, the homeless are invisible to society. Their circumstances are often a product of many systemic gaps in our society. The homeless want to be visible. Without an identification card, a homeless person is unable to access important services like medical, employment and housing.”

Medical services were provided by CMR, who sent a paramedic and medical doctor, Living Hope with two staff and a nursing sister from Kheth’Impilo, and the College’s mobile clinic was made available for blood pressure testing and other services. The students were busy in the pop-up Dignity store, unpacking and sorting the clothing, shoes, toiletries, and books, generously donated by the community.

Local hairdresser Caron Nieuwstad offered her services again and 11 people walked away with neat cuts.

Carolyn Axman, who has work experience in Human Resources, offered resume-writing services to anyone who needed a C.V. while workshops were conducted by several locals who focused on economic development.

Yolanda Valentine, of False Bay Recycling, explained how trash can become an income through recycling while Eva Hart, of MaterialShare, demonstrated turning recyclables into art. Sue Kinnell, of Lions Club, told those seeking jobs how to best handle those difficult interviews.

Arendse discussed potential work opportunities at Neighbourhood Farms.

Dignity packs were donated by the Grade 11s of Reddam House Constantia for distribution to attendees.

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