Safe Space officially opens its doors for Cape Town's homeless

2018-07-18 14:05
Councillor JP Smith said the Safe Space initiative could be a long-term solution to the City’s homelessness crisis. (Zakwani Abeidabeeku Zulualabiade, GroundUp)

Councillor JP Smith said the Safe Space initiative could be a long-term solution to the City’s homelessness crisis. (Zakwani Abeidabeeku Zulualabiade, GroundUp)

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The City of Cape Town has officially launched a Safe Space for the homeless, aimed at addressing the shortage of bed space at shelters and providing access to health services.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services JP Smith launched the Safe Space for homeless people, as services at the facility run by the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department begin to grow.

READ: Cape Town launches a place for the homeless to sleep

The Safe Space has been open for the past two weeks to test the intake system.

"There are 15 street people who have been accommodated thus far, and all have returned nightly since we opened," Smith said.

"They have provided valuable feedback and we now have a list of street people who have expressed interest in being accommodated at the site once it is fully operational."

Basic services

Smith said the Safe Space would provide a transitional overnight shelter for up to 230 people at a facility underneath the Culemborg Bridge on the Foreshore.

"Already, many of those who have made use of the facility have indicated that they feel safe and are glad to be off the streets and receiving social assistance," Smith said.

"Living on the street isn't easy and neither is sleeping on the street. It's cold, wet, uncomfortable, and then there is the constant threat of having your meagre possessions stolen or of being attacked."

Smith said people making use of the facility would have access to basic services like ablution facilities, water and storage lockers. From August, they would also have access to health services and assistance with any substance abuse issues.

"The space has only just opened and already there is a waiting list," he said.

"External service providers are providing soup kitchens and cleaning services, while the site will have a dedicated Law Enforcement team for security. Another aim of the project is to take pressure off existing shelters," he said.

"We don't want the homeless to see sleeping on the street as the best long-term choice open to them. By working to bring together all the services to work as one, and partnering with others, we can make a real difference."

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