Winter aid granted to organisations in Bellville

The team from the Tygerberg Association for Street People(TASP), back from left, are Shaney Windvogel Ewald Majied, Jody Derby, Lee Ann Alexander, James Rietels, Willem Hole and Pieter Minnie. Front, from left, are Pieter Gal, Karin Minnaar and Gerhard van Wyk.

The Tygerberg Association for Street People (TASP) and The Haven Night Shelter in Bellville have qualified for City of Cape Town winter aid to help the homeless.

The City’s social development and early childhood development directorate has budgeted R699 000 for its winter readiness programme and will provide aid in the form of blankets, mattresses, non-perishable food and toiletries to qualifying charities.

Tasp and the Haven Night Shelter are long-standing organisations in Bellville.

Tasp was established in 2005 by Denise Robinson, a DA member of parliament, who saw the needs of people living on the street.

“We facilitate ‘people reaching people’ through the rehabilitation of street people by providing life skills, support training and opportunities,” said Tasp manager Jan Majied.

Tasp’s services include a family programme, funded by the provincial Department of Social Development, which helps vulnerable families strengthen their bonds with relatives who are at risk of landing on the street.

“The winter programme runs yearly from June 1 to August 31. The City comes on board and supports the organisation with dry food, blankets and toiletries,” said Mr Majied.

Tasp also delivers cooked meals daily to about 40 homeless people in Bellville and surrounding areas.

The Haven has been around for 39 years and has 12 shelters in the city. It helps adult homeless people return to their homes, families or communities.

“Our vision is that no one should have to live on our streets,” said CEO Hassan Khan.

He said the organisation’s challenges included bed shortages during winter, maintenance backlogs and older people bottlenecking the system.

“The community supplies the needs of homeless persons in summer creating an enabling environment for homelessness to grow,” said Mr Khan, adding that some street people were reluctant to return home to family or set up their own homes.

The shelter provides 10 days free accommodation to first-time entrants who are then charged R12 per day from the 11th day.

Those with no money can do work around the shelter to earn their stay. The City doesn’t fund The Haven, but it does give it 6kl of free water for every five people in the shelter as well as rates rebates.

The City received 30 applications for winter aid, although only 19 qualified, according to Suzette Little, the mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development. She said charities had to have facilities where people could stay overnight and had to comply with all health and safety codes.

“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. 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,” said Ms Little.

The organisations that qualified are from all over the city, including 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. 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 call the City’s toll-free number at 0800 872 201 to find out how to help or SMS ‘Give’ to 38802 to donate R10.