Survey sheds light on homeless

Mayor Dan Plato and Dr Zahid Badroodien encouraged residents to give responsibly.
A City of Cape Town survey has revealed that close to 4 000 people are living on the streets of Cape Town  and that area central is listed among the top five sub-councils with 276 homeless people living on the streets of Sub-council 4.

The study was run over an  18-day period in November last year and revealed that there are 6 175 street people in the city with 2 084 of them accessing night shelters.
Mayco member for community services and health, Dr Zahid Badroodien, said the survey, conducted daily between 3am and 8am, revealed that there are 125 homeless people living on the streets of Parow.
He said 63% of them are men; 31% are women and 31% of them are between the ages of 18 to 35; 26% of them are between the ages of 36 and 45 and 11% of the homeless fit in the 46 to 55-year-old bracket. 

Dr Badroodien said 73% are coloured; 9% are black and 2% are white.

The study revealed that Goodwood has a total of 170 homeless people. “Fifty-two percent are coloured; 24% are black and 3% are white. Close to 33% of them are aged between 18 to 35 years old; 30% are between 36 to 45 years old and 12% are between 46 to 55 years old,” he said.

He added that 61% of the homeless in Goodwood are men; 24% are women and 15% of them fall into the unspecified category.

The Cape Town, Mitchell’s Plain and Bellville central business districts were found to have the largest street people populations.

The Bellville CBD was found to have 333 with many of them congregating at the Transnet Marshalling yard and the Hardekraaltjie Caravan Park in Boston.

Dr Badroodien said the City launched its winter readiness programme for street people on Wednesday May 1.

“The City has partnered with 16 shelters across the metro to temporarily increase the amount of bed space at the shelters by 247 beds. 

The shelters are provided with additional resources, including groceries, bedding, toiletries, cleaning materials and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) opportunities, so that more homeless people can benefit from shelter during the winter, the programme continues until the end of October. 

The City has launched a ‘Give Dignity Campaign’ and is encouraging residents to donate goods at their libraries to help street people at our participating shelters and safe space during the winter period,” he said.

Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman, Faizel Petersen, said the community of Goodwood is constantly reminded to “give responsibly” (a call to action to support the work done by non-governmental organisations that give street people an alternative to life on the streets) as the giving of handouts is what attracts homeless to the area, who then end up setting up camp in the area to regularly be clothed and fed and receiving money occasionally.

“This has resulted in criminals moving around in the area disguised as homeless who then actively become involved in robberies,” he said.

Mr Petersen said that a derelict property at 5 Anderson Street, Goodwood, has become a major headache for them (“Squatters out in Anderson Street”, Northern News, May 31 2017).

“SAPS has done various operations and has found up to 40 people living on the property. There is no toilet facilities, no running water and people are relieving themselves all over the property, which has a direct impact on the neighbours. 

“Metro police has also done various operations and also said the premises is not suitable for occupation. In April 2019, the ratepayers, Goodwood Neighbourhood Watch and police met with the owner to try and work out a solution, and the owner made a commitment to start developing the property by end of June this year. He has failed to honour that,” he said (“No end to ‘problem’ in street”, Northern News, January 31 2018).

Mr Petersen has since lodged a formal complaint with the City’s land use management department and the owner, Fuad Carlie, is set to appear in court in November this year.

Dr Badroodien said the street people population statistics enable all levels of government to make necessary policy changes aimed at increasing or improving initiatives to support those individuals who sleep rough in the city. 

“We are excited to host the street people summit in October this year, in collaboration with our partners, which is sure to drive innovative policy solutions to address and support our street people,” he said.