Residents asked not to give

A group of homeless people in the Durbanville CBD.

Durbanville residents have been urged not to give homeless people money or hand-outs as these donations, while well intended, often do more harm than good for the recipients.

Ward 112 councillor Theresa Uys says residents should support local charities instead of giving hand-outs to beggars

“We’ve had complaints from residents that some homeless people re-sell the groceries and some of the items that they get for the money. It’s an ongoing scam because some people take advantage of people’s generosity,” she said.

Ms Uys said supporting begging also hurt efforts by the City, social workers and charities to help street people.

“Some see Durbanville as a lucrative area, so, as the City, we need to identify who is really homeless and who’s not, then work with organisations in the area to accommodate them; that’s one way we will tackle homelessness.”

Mould Empower Serve (MES) is one of the charities helping the homeless in the area.

Anelle Erasmus, from MES, said hand-outs would not eradicate homelessness.

“When the public hand out food, money and clothing, it directly works against the core values organisations like MES are trying to instil in our homeless people.

“Our homeless problem can be solved if we work together and support NGOs and partners who are committed to solve and alleviate the poverty in our communities and cities,” said Ms Erasmus.

MES runs a programme teaching skills to the homeless so they can earn their own money and food.

The City of Cape Town launched it’s Safe Space for street people pilot project on Tuesday July 3. The facility under the Culemborg Bridge on the Foreshore can shelter up to 230 street people and has ablution facilities, beds and storage lockers.

Samantha Jacobs, 45, who is originally from Bellville, has been living on the streets for a year.

She often visits shelters but claims that they don’t always have space.

“Sometimes shelters are too expensive. That is why we beg people for money on the streets, they say we use it for drugs but that’s not true. We need food.”

Ms Jacobs said Durbanville residents were generous because they gave them groceries.

David James has been on the streets for almost a year.

He is former security guard who lost his job in 2016 and has been begging in around Durbanville for the past four months.

“The City cannot tell people not to give us money, otherwise we won’t survive because some of us don’t like these shelters. They are too full and people there steal your stuff, so I beg here, and sometimes I scratch in the dustbin to find food.”

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