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Shelter space planned at taxi rank in Durbanville

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An aerial view of the new potential Safe Space location in Durbanville at the Public Transport Interchange (PTI).
An aerial view of the new potential Safe Space location in Durbanville at the Public Transport Interchange (PTI).

A 30-bed safe space is planned in the new Durbanville Public Transport Interchange (PTI) development at the Durbanville taxi rank, which will start within the coming months.

This is part of the City of Cape Town’s plan to add 330 more shelter beds at two new safe spaces to help homeless people off the streets.

A 300-bed safe space is also on the cards for Green Point, to help people off the streets in the city centre (CBD) and seaboard area. 

An underutilised portion of the City’s roads depot in Green Point – situated under the fly-over bridge on Ebenezer Road – has been earmarked for this purpose.

The City will soon file planning approval applications for the new safe space dignified transitional shelter facilities in Green Point and Durbanville. The planning approval process will include an opportunity for any affected parties to comment.

“Both the Green Point and Durbanville proposals will follow the full regulatory and planning process before being implemented, during which comment by affected parties will be called for and duly considered,” reads a media release by the City.

A helping hand

The City’s safe spaces offer two meals per day, showers and sanitation, and access to a range of care interventions. 

This includes referrals for mental health care, addiction treatment, job placement, family reunification, and help getting identity cards. 

“A large number of people living in public spaces suffer from mental afflictions, addiction, depression, psychosis, trauma, or familial abuse. This situation was exacerbated by extended national Covid-19 lockdowns and the related economic impact. 

“For this reason, safe spaces offer care interventions designed to reintegrate people into society and help them off the streets on a sustainable basis,” says Patricia van der Ross, Mayco member for community services and health.

In total, there will be a 420-bed boost for Cape Town’s inner city, with around 120 shelter beds already added to the City’s Culemborg safe space in the east of the CBD during winter in 2022.

“Over the last year, we have shifted the City’s policy to care interventions designed to help people off the streets on a sustainable basis,” says Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis. 

“This is on the clear understanding that our city’s public spaces serve important economic and community needs. No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance. Accepting social assistance to leave the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being,” he says.

Evictions

This follows the eviction of several unlawful occupants from the public open space in Baxter Avenue in Durbanville two weeks ago after they consistently refused offers of social support.

“The City will be approaching the courts for similar orders for hotspots around the City, including the CBD. These processes take time, as the City needs to establish the social circumstances and identities of those unlawfully occupying public spaces, and ensure there is a record of social assistance having been offered as a first resort,” according to the media release.

The new beds will bring safe space capacity up to 1 060 beds across several facilities in the CBD, Bellville, and Durbanville. 

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