In light of today being World Homeless Day, Minister Fernandez would like to urge the public to give responsibility. This includes donating money, food, clothes, toys, bedding, etc. to registered Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who work specifically with the homeless people in our towns and cities.

The Cape Town Project Center, highlights that “homelessness is often simplified to mean those who do not have a house. However, homelessness is a complex term. Homeless people may have no shelter, access to a temporary roof, or an informal shack that is not safe or secure.”

Regarding those people who reside on the streets, many individuals find themselves briefly living on the streets while others may have found themselves destitute for many years. This population commonly refers to those individuals who have no access to a roof or shelter, live and sleep on the streets for a number of reasons, and have done so for any given period of time.

“DSD provides assistance to the homeless by providing funding (albeit to various degrees) to NGOs that work directly to get people off the streets and to empower them with skills-training, uniting them back with their families and integrating them into our communities. For the 2019/20 financial year, the Department allocated funding towards 27 Shelters that assist homeless citizens across our Province. The support provided by DSD amounts to funding 1499 bed spaces with a total budget of R18 547 320.00,” says Minister Fernandez.

The shelters render key social work services aimed at reuniting homeless adults with their families, with R16-million allocated to sustained family reunification services. The department is also working with NGO’s, to provide extra mattresses, food, and care packs to the poor. The beneficiaries who make use of the shelter services, have access to other services rendered by the DSD. Where possible, shelters also assist beneficiaries to access medical services and ID documentation applications.

The 2019/20 financial year saw our department reunify 700 people with their families. Furthermore, DSD has also been calling for proposals for shelters to apply for funding and have been increasing the number of bed spaces and the amount of money allocated to shelters for homeless adults.

In collaboration with the Shelters for homeless adults the Department has developed Norms and Standards for shelters. The Department has allocated 22 Social Workers, 3 Social Auxiliary Workers and 1 Social Supervisor to currently funded Shelters. The Department is also ensruing that psycho-social services are available for support and reunifying homeless individuals with their respective families.

The public is encouraged to get involved through volunteering or donating to registered NGOs operating in the province. Information on registered NGOs can be obtained by visiting any of our regional and local offices, or by contacting our DSD hotline 0800 220 250.

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