News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Homeless flood shelters as winter bites

Siyabonga Kalipa

With Cape Town being battered by cold and wet winter weather, shelters for the homeless report they are bursting at the seams as they try to cope with demand from homeless people seeking shelter.

In Elsies River, Elim Night Shelter administrative manager Graeme Thompson said there was not “a single empty bed” in the 65-bed shelter.

“We have people knocking on our doors daily looking for a place, but we have to turn them away because we are full, and we can’t have people sleeping on the floor.”

Thompson said they were turning away three to four people a day and were also receiving phone calls from organisations and churches asking if they had beds available.

The Haven Night Shelter organisation, which has 14 shelters around Cape Town, reported a “normal” upswing in demand during the winter months.

Haven Night Shelter CEO Hassan Khan said they had 923 beds across all their shelters, but would create temporary bed spaces in dining halls for people looking for a place to stay.

Haven shelters had received a Grant-in-Aid amount of R300,000 from the city’s Social Development Department for the winter season.

Supervisor of Ikhaya Labantu shelter in Langa, Ntombi Nkanyuza, said they were full to capacity, with about 60 people living at the shelter, including 20 refugees.

Nkanyuza said: “During this time of the year we get a lot of people knocking on our door because of the cold and rainy weather, but we can only take so many.”

About three people per day were being turned away, Nkanyuza said.

“We are not getting anything from the government at the moment, but we are still waiting because we applied for funding this year.”

City social development facilities manager Lungelo Nokwaza said no survey had been done on the number of street people, but estimated there were about 1,100 people living on the street.

Nokwaza said the city was in talks with the provincial government to try and get buildings transferred to the city so they could be turned into shelters. — West Cape News

Tags: homelessness, winter

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One Response to “Homeless flood shelters as winter bites”

  1. llewellyn finnegan says: is llewellyn.i went to the haven shelter in cape town.but all of them are full.i need a place to stay i wonder if u can help me please.i dont work every day so it is very diffcult.thanks

    regards llewellyn

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