“This place, honestly, has saved my life”

Shelters to get boost from City of Cape Town for winter

By Eryn Scannell

Photo of man on crutches entering a gate
Happy Valley Home, which has 65 beds, will get an additional ten this winter. Photo: Eryn Scannell

“Come back 15 May. We will have more beds then,” the manager of Happy Valley Home in Simon’s Town tells a homeless man.

Happy Valley is one of the nine organisations that will receive aid from the City of Cape Town this winter from 15 May to 30 September. The shelter will get ten additional beds. Shelters will also receive additional groceries, blankets, mattresses, toiletries and cleaning materials. This is “to help cater for an expected increase in the number of street people seeking shelter during the cold winter months” according to a City press release.

The City’s “winter readiness plan” adds 276 beds for the homeless, and supplies for seven organisations in Cape Town, according to Councillor JP Smith.

Happy Valley Home can accommodate 65 residents, 45 men and 20 women. The shelter could only add ten additional bed spaces because of limited space. Its beds are almost always full.

During the winter homeless people “cry at the gate” said the manager, who did not wish to be named.

Happy Valley Home does not charge people to stay, but asks for a monthly contribution of up to R650. Residents get three meals per day, seven days a week.

Darren Feldman, who came to Happy Valley almost a year ago, said, “This place, honestly, has saved my life.”

When he arrived, he “couldn’t string a sentence together” he said. He had just completed his eighth drug rehabilitation program, but the rehab centre closed down, leaving Feldman homeless.

At the shelter he created a personal development plan with the manager and set goals to reintegrate with society, as do all the Happy Valley Home residents. The shelter also helps people gain employment by assisting them with CVs and obtaining ID documents for them.

Feldman now works at the City’s waste department. “I’ve come out the other side,” he said. He hopes to rebuild his relationship with his wife and two children and reunite his family. “My dream is to be totally independent and send money home to my kids and donate money here [to Happy Valley],” said Feldman.

According to a street people report conducted in 2015 by the Directorate of Social Development and Early Childhood Development, there were 7,383 homeless people in the City. The report stated 4,862 people slepts on the streets and 2,521 in shelters. 79% were male and nearly three-quarters were between the ages of 26 and 45.

Shelter name Number of beds for Men Number of beds for women Winter readiness additional beds Charge per night Includes

Elim Night Shelter

51

19

15

R15 if unemployed, R30 if employed

Meals, shower, social work services

Mould Empower Serve

45

15

15

R8, possibly no charge if part of winter readiness plan

Meals, shower, social work services, toiletries

Oasis Reach for a Dream

20

0

20

No charge

28 Somerset West Night Shelter

42

12

20

R15

Meals, shower, social work services

Happy Valley Home

45

20

10

Monthly contribution up to R650

Meals, shower, clothing, toiletries, social work services

Tygerberg Association for Street People

20

0

20

No charge

Meals, shower, toiletries

Ubuntu Circle of Courage

15

0

15

R25, do not charge during winter

Meals, toiletries

Haven Night Shelter (10 facilities)

About 30 per shelter

About 10 per shelter

146 total for all 10 shelters

R12 or can earn stay by working for shelter, if income exceeds R1400 then R750 per month

Meals, shower, social work services

Carpenter’s Shop

40

0

15

No charge for those on winter readiness plan, others R1000 per month

Ablutions, social work services, clinic services, life skills training, clothing


Published originally on GroundUp .

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