The City of Cape Town’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department commemorated World Homeless Day today by engaging homeless people and role players on the issues which touch the lives of those living on the street. This first engagement was aimed at hearing the voices of those living on the street, and within the City’ s mandate, determine how to further close the gaps when responding to people living on the street and to inform themes for the bigger dialogue due to be held in November 2019. Read more below:
World Homeless Day, established in 2010, developed from worldwide discussions between government and people in the sector working to respond to street people.
‘The purpose of World Homeless Day is not only to draw attention to the needs of this vulnerable and often overlooked group of people, but also to provide opportunities for local government, the street people sector and other role players to get involved in responding to homelessness,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
To further facilitate opportunities, the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department hosted a Street People engagement event in Bellville South today.
‘This was a unique gathering that allowed for the collection of information, recognising the lived experiences of our street people,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
The programme included former street people, those currently living on the street as well as officials and organisations involved with street people.
‘We have brought everyone together and are now asking street people what their needs are and how the City can better respond to these needs. It gives us an opportunity to look at which services are being provided and how we are fulfilling or falling short of giving street people what they truly need and want. We can focus on closing the gaps in how we respond to people living on the street,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
Learnings from today’s event will inform a larger engagement with the sector in November and strengthen the communication between the City and role players who provide services to street people.
‘The City recognises that partnering with organisations to deliver impactful developmental programmes is essential in supporting our street people community,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
‘Part of the discussion today were testimonies from former street people who have given us a glimpse into their realities, what motivated them to get off the street and also what led them to accept support.
‘There are several organisations who assist street people and they’re to be commended. Working with street people is a calling and I want to encourage them to work with the City in the interest of all our homeless,’ added Councillor Badroodien.
Several wellness stations formed part of the programme as well as booths by service providers such as City Health, the provincial Department of Social Development, SASSA and the Department of Home Affairs.