Significant drop in the number of kids living on Cape Town's streets

The NGO, Homestead Project for Street Children's research shows that the estimated 800 children roaming the streets of Cape Town in 2000, has dropped to less than 100 today.

Project Director Paul Hooper explains some of the work that has resulted in this significant decrease.

Hooper says the statistics are very reliable. The City of Cape Town in partnership with a number of NGOs did a large-scale research project in 2000 over a 6-month period recording all the homelessness.

He says there were 786 children living on the streets of Cape Town in that year. The City has just completed research that backs up the Homestead Project's latest research.

We are down to handfuls on the street at the moment.

Paul Hooper, Homestead Project for Street Children

Cape Town is still surrounded by chronically deprived communities where children continue to be abused, neglected and exploited.

Paul Hooper, Homestead Project for Street Children

So why has the number dropped so significantly when many socio -economic problems still continue?

Hooper says The Homestead has early intervention programmes in these communities which help. Some changes in legislation and child care grants have also been beneficial, he says.

They find children from all over Southern Africa arriving on the streets of Cape Town, and the NGO moves about 100 kids off the streets each year.

Out methodology for getting them off the street has vastly improved. We've also got much deeper and more advanced services for the children.

Paul Hooper, Homestead Project for Street Children

We are running at an 80% success rate, which seems quite high, but it's not high enough four us because it still leaves 20% of kids we don't always reach.

Paul Hooper, Homestead Project for Street Children

Hooper says they are definitely doing things better every year, and the services they offer chip away at the number of kids all the time.

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