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Issue of Cape Town's homeless 'deeply politicised', says Seaboard councillor

15 July 2020 1:39 PM
Tags:
Cape Town
Sea Point
Homeless
City of Cape Town
Zahid Badroodien
Nicola Jowell
Seaboard CAN

Councillor Nicola Jowell has responded to complaints that the City of Cape Town isn't doing enough to address the plight of the homeless in the Sea Point area.

Jowell, the ward councillor for the Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay area, says the issue of homelessness has become deeply politicised in Cape Town.

Sadly this issue has become deeply politicised.

Nicola Jowell, Ward 54 Councillor - City of Cape Town

The councillor says the City of Cape Town has gone above and beyond its mandate to fund social welfare programmes for the homeless out of its own pocket, despite this being the responsibility of the provincial and national governments.

We've had dedicated fieldworkers which have been paid for by ward allocation funding to engage with the homeless on a day-to-day basis.

Nicola Jowell, Ward 54 Councillor - City of Cape Town

In the Atlantic Seabord, the issue of the homeless is of great concern to the community.

Nicola Jowell, Ward 54 Councillor - City of Cape Town

On Tuesday, the coordinator of the Seaboard Community Action Network (CAN), Isa-Lee Jacobson, told CapeTalk that the City was unable to provide support for at least 120 homeless people in the Sea Point area.

The Seaboard CAN, which runs a soup kitchen for these homeless people, has been unable to find an alternative space for their daily meal service after they were kicked out of the Sea Point Evangelical Congregational Church.

They currently operate outside in the cold.

RELATED: Homeless people left out in the cold in Sea Point, bemoans Seaboard CAN

Councillor Jowell says shelters across the city have limited capacity due to social distancing requirements.

She adds that many homeless people living in the city centre refuse to go to shelters outside of the CBD.

The shelters are at a premium. It's especially difficult right now, with social distancing requirements which have created restrictions on numbers.

Nicola Jowell, Ward 54 Councillor - City of Cape Town

Jacobson has challenged the City of Cape Town to open up the Sea Point Civic Centre and other municipal halls like it, so that important community-run initiatives can continue.

"I see no reason why we can't use that space", she tells CapeTalk host Kieno Kammies.

Meanwhile, the City's mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien, says municipal officials are working to identify more facilities to accommodate homeless people.

However, he says the issue of homelessness is complex and cannot be resolved simply by creating more shelter space.

Sadly, some of our residents in the city seem to believe that it's a simple matter of making shelter spaces available.... Actually, that's not going to solve the problem.

Zahid Badroodien, MayCo member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town

We are the only municipality in the country that has spent up to R70 million to partner with organisations and shelter service providers... because we are so serious about helping our vulnerable community.

Zahid Badroodien, MayCo member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town

At the same time, councillor Jowell has slammed the media for focusing on the City's controversial by-law enforcement instead of its social welfare programmes.

The by-law enforcement is an essential part of what needs to happen, but real long-term change will happen through social development and social welfare. That's why we've prioritised that.

Nicola Jowell, Ward 54 Councillor - City of Cape Town

Listen to the in-depth discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies:


15 July 2020 1:39 PM
Tags:
Cape Town
Sea Point
Homeless
City of Cape Town
Zahid Badroodien
Nicola Jowell
Seaboard CAN

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