Ms Vuyokazi Matanzima (seen second row, second from left) from the City of Cape Town joined shelter staff, pastors, Ian Greer and the community at the Prayer Meeting for the Helderberg Street People’s Centre. Thank you Vuyo, your presence was appreciated.
Recently we were joined by Jackie from Vetus Schola, she is the kennel manager and Hugh from Helderberg Crime Watch. They have been a great support to our team at the shelter and come to our rescue when we need their assistance. They lead the way on the night that we reached out to the homeless on the streets, here is some feedback from Jackie: Thank you for inviting Hugh form HCW and me along on your evening out. Due to the nature of our work we come into contact with the homeless quite often and therefore know where they stay during the night. It was heart-warming to go out for once and give them something for a change instead of having to ‘confront’ them for being unfortunate enough to be homeless. The two of us often at their request work alongside Metro, Law Enforcement and DPU on these ‘raids’ and I often end up crying over what has to happen and not having the power to change any of it. As you experience some of them are some very entertaining characters. As per discussions we had that evening I suggested that if you want to do similar drives in the future it would be better to start much later in the evening, earliest 9pm. Also, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights will be better for we have the bin foragers in town from Wednesdays coming out of areas like Maccassa etc. and stay in the area till at least Saturday nights before returning home and are not part of our homeless in town. Over the festive season coming up I would suggest even later. Unfortunately they get ‘raided’ by Metro, Law Enforcement and DPU more regular over the festive season and therefore they tend to go to their sleeping spots much later. As you could see that evening there where one or two Metro vehicles around so they were very skittish and that a lot would run away the moment their sleeping areas was approached. Thank you so much for what you did that night, I could not decide what was more appreciated by them, the food or the sleeping bags but mostly gaining some dignity for being treated with love, respect and kindness.
Is celebrated each year on the 10th of October and this year the staff of the Nightshelter together with members of Helderberg Crime Watch went out into the streets of Somerset West to hand out soup, sandwhiches and waterproof sleepingbags to the homeless. With this effort we reached 50 people on the streets .
Duvet covers, inners & pillows We would like to give the bedding a makeover by purchasing two sets of matching duvets for all 54 beds. We will start with the woman’s as there are only 12. Each bed will cost R600 to makeover, which includes 2 duvet covers, two sheets, pillow, pillow protector and duvet inner. If you or your company could sponsor one or more beds we will be able to make this possible.
This week the Youth For Christ Team 12, known as Buyela visited the Somerset West Night Shelter, had the opportunity to meet some of the people and serve them supper. “We had a great time and I was surprised to see how happy some of the people were despite their obvious circumstances” said one of the team members. The team started out by lending a hand in packing and sorting out clothes and groceries for the shelter and then later visited during the evening. Another team member said, “Some of the people were really happy to have us there even though we didn’t do much, I think they were hungry for more than the food we served, they seemed desperate even after they had eaten, they need God, love and people who are committed to invest time and effort into their lives. It reminded me why we need to be the hands and feet of God constantly and not just His mouth on occasion”.
On Women’s Day the Somerset West Night Shelter had a celebration tea with special guest Diana Ferrus. She is the well know poet who wrote the poem “I’ve come to take you home” in honour of Sarah Baartman affectionately known as Saartjie. What an amazing woman Diana is, we were so grateful, she shared her own personal story from childhood and how she came to the point of writing the poem. Nazleah Simmon the Administrator and at the shelter did a wonderful job of organising delicious eats. The ladies also enjoyed refreshments from Appletiser, magazines from JOY! and Life Church gave each lady a gift. It was a wonderful afternoon, enjoyed by the shelter clients, staff and committee members.
Thank you to Ian Greer from HSPC and Councillor Stuart Pringle for the recent letters in the District Mail. The issues of homelessness and people in need is one that should be in constant conversation amongst those that have the privilege of food, accommodation and a livelihood. I am reminded daily of the wealth in our area. Yes there are many people who stay in homes who battle to pay bills, struggle to feed their families and may have just lost their source of income, however there are often options available like selling the home, family support, selling furniture etc. Being homeless without anything but a blanket if you are given one is the lowest position in the social scale. We who live in the Helderberg tend to look upon those staying at the shelter or living on the streets as self deserving of there disposition, due to wrong choices and bad lifestyle. The reality is no one is immune to hardship, suffering, stupidity and abuse inflicted by others. When I connect with those in desperate need of assistance I realise that there is very little that separates me from them. The dividing factor is my possessions! Ian is right in saying that the issues of homelessness is a complex one and there are various needs. The Night Shelter staff and committee are working timeously to increase effectiveness of operations at the shelter. The shelter is mostly full, with a short waiting list, however the availability of a bed only takes a day or two as we are able to help more people exit the shelter than ever before. Some go back to family, some to specialised places of care and most become self reliant. What the shelter and the Helderberg Street People’s Centre need more than ever before is assistance from the public. We need you to give us your donations of clothing and food. We also need you to give us your money, please don’t give money to the man at the traffic light by the Lord Charles, the woman harassing you outside the post office etc. You may think you are doing good, but in reality the Shelter and the Street Peoples Centre are better equipped, staffed and stocked to help. What we struggle with is cash flow, so instead of individually distributing an accumulatively large amount of finance amongst those petitioning for support, our humble request is for you to redirect your finance to the organisations at the heart of the matter, dealing with the issues daily. And if you feel that we are not assisting the homeless or destitute individual who you have connected with like Gabriel (well known in our area) or many others who we can name as we know their story, then please we challenge you to get involved, phone us, let us know, we will go and do what is needed. Our shelters short term goal is to get to the point of being run at the highest level of effectiveness and to be known as the best shelter in the Western Cape. Thereafter we want to establish or assist in establishing at least two other shelters in the Helderberg. One for women and children and one for those under the influence alcohol and drugs. It doesn’t stop there, old age homes and places of care for mentally challenged and ill adults only having a government grant amount available and not being able to be placed in institutions is also a challenge, so this list of what we need in the Helderberg is a continuing one.