‘Local care’ for homeless

2016-02-16 06:00

Constantia, just like other areas, is affected by an influx of homeless people in the streets.

There are currently between 400 and 500 people who are living on the streets. Some come and go but the majority stay there.

A lot has been done to help the homeless and to make sure that they are taken off the streets. Numerous suggestions have been put on the table to tackle the challenge of street people. On several occasions people have been at loggerheads about what to do with the street people.

People’s Post has reported a number of times on street people in the area. (“Where must homeless go?”, 14 September 2015).

In another effort to solve the problem of street people, Elizabeth Brunette, ward 62 councillor, is calling on all the organisations and people who work with street people to come together and try to solve the problem.

Brunette is calling on people to join her local network of care (LNOC) so that they can tackle the challenge together head-on, as they are the residents of the area and they see what happens in their area.

Such a LNOC will be registered with the subcouncil.

A LNOC is a non-profit organisation consisting of volunteer caregivers living in an area who provide a network of support to the street people in that area. LNOC volunteers help the vulnerable and those at risk in the community. They help with re-integration and find out why people are on the streets to try to find a possible solution for every individual.

The aim of the network is to reduce the number of people on the streets through different methods. Following a full assessment of a street person the LNOC volunteers will help with drug abuse assessment and referrals, drug-free programmes for the youth, counselling and relapse services, after-school care and sports clubs.

Those who want to join the LNOC can do so as an associate member or as an ordinary member. Associate membership is reserved for organisations or individuals who have recognised programmes in terms of the street people policy of the City of Cape Town.

Ordinary membership is for those individuals who wish to make a voluntary contribution towards the care of community members.

Application for membership must be done according to the prescribed registration form of the LNOC and should be submitted to the relevant subcouncil for approval and acceptance.

At the moment there are 24 LNOCs across Cape Town.
Brunette has no doubt that it’s going to work in her ward as well and reduce the number of people on the streets.

“I asked for it because we have so many people on the streets. You see them hanging around the CBD and outside restaurants. This route is very busy and a lot of people going to Hout Bay, Wynberg or Cape Town pass by here. They give food and money to the street people, hence we have seen an increase in the number of people on the streets. When others buy their food they also buy for their favourite street person and this has resulted in a number of people on the streets because of the support [they get].

“With people on the streets there is a lot of rubbish around, faeces, used condoms. It’s a mess.
“We can’t blame them, it’s very difficult, that’s why we are calling on people to join the LNOC so that we may solve this problem together.
“Maybe some of them need help to go back to their families, maybe others need to beat the drug habit so that they go back home. With others maybe they need a job so that they can afford paying their rent and buy food so that they are not on the streets.

“I’m hopeful that this is going to solve the problem that we have,” says Brunette.

Those who want to get more insight into the LNOC and become members can attend a meeting at Church on Main in Constantia on Thursday 17 March at 14:00.

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