City aid to ease cold on streets

The City of Cape Town’s social development and early childhood development directorate has approved just over half of the applications it received for a share of the R699 000 it will spend on its winter readiness programme to help the homeless.

The City said it had received 30 applications for a share of the aid, and 19 had met the qualification criteria, including being registered NGOs or NPOs, having facilities where people can overnight, and complying with all health and safety regulations.

“We have seen a slight increase in the number of shelters that have qualified for aid, but many organisations are still failing to make the grade,” said Suzette Little, the mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development.

“Some submissions came after the deadline, others didn’t have proper documentation or the type of facilities conducive to accommodating people.

“We will be evaluating all of the late submissions to see if we can assist those organisations that would have qualified, because it’s in everyone’s best interests to have as many spaces available as possible for street people to access.”

The programme will see the City distribute blankets, mattresses, non-perishable food and toiletries to NGOs to help them deal with a surge in the number of street people seeking shelter and aid during winter.

The qualifying organisations are based in Somerset West, Bellville, Kalk Bay, Kraaifontein, Elsies River, Retreat, Wynberg, Woodstock, Delft, Kensington, Claremont, Lavender Hill, Simon’s Town, Ottery, Faure, Athlone and Green Point.

“We’re always looking for ways to further improve our programme. In the new financial year, we will also engage with churches to possibly make space available for our winter readiness programme,” said Ms Little.

“The weather is becoming more and more unpredictable, but we’ve witnessed a few severe weather spells already in recent months, and the nights are definitely getting colder. People need a place they can turn to, and so we need to make sure that we have as many organisations on board as possible.”

* The public can contact the City’s toll-free number at 0800 872 201 to find out how they can donate to organisations helping street people.

Or SMS “Give” to 38802 to donate R10. The funds will be used to supplement the street people programme.