City of Cape Town will spend close to R27m to assist street people
The City of Cape Town said on Sunday its social development and early childhood development department will be spending just shy of R27m on interventions for street people in this financial year.
The city said this was an increase of R4.5m compared to the previous financial year. The 2021/22 budget was tabled in May.
The city said in SA, national and provincial governments hold the constitutional welfare mandate and budget.
It said the increased budget was designed to bolster the department’s interventions in making a lasting difference in the lives of people living on the street.
The funding will go towards the city’s winter readiness programme, support for shelters and ongoing awareness and education drives.
“In addition, the city will also facilitate employment opportunities for 934 street people through the expanded public works programme in this financial year, with the assistance of external shelter organisations,” the city said in a statement.
The city’s member of the mayoral committee for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said homelessness elicited very strong opinions.
“Healthy and informed debates are crucial to the process, as we grapple with finding lasting solutions. Unfortunately we find that the conversation is often limited to the issue of shelter spaces as a silver bullet.”
Badroodien added: “Apart from helping willing participants find a temporary shelter, our staff, in conjunction with the city’s many non-governmental partners, work to help secure identity documents for individuals, which in turn help them apply for grants or to find employment.
“They facilitate referrals to medical care, but also other social services, and more importantly, they go the extra mile to help reunite people on the street with their families.”
The city said in the past five years, the dedicated reintegration unit has placed 1,600 people in shelters to help people get off the streets on a sustainable basis.
It said over 1,550 street people had benefited from the extended public works programme and over 575 street people had been reunified with family or friends.