GROUNDUP

‘This place, honestly, has saved my life’

By Eryn Scannell for GroundUp 15 May 2018

Happy Valley Home, which has 65 beds, will get an additional ten this winter. Photo: Eryn Scannell

Shelters are to get a boost from the City of Cape Town for winter.

First published by GroundUp

Come back 15 May. We will have more beds then,” the manager of Happy Valley Home in Simon’s Town tells a homeless man.

Happy Valley is one of the nine organisations that will receive aid from the City of Cape Town this winter from 15 May to 30 September. The shelter will get ten additional beds. Shelters will also receive additional groceries, blankets, mattresses, toiletries and cleaning materials. This is “to help cater for an expected increase in the number of street people seeking shelter during the cold winter months” according to a city press release.

The city’s “winter readiness plan” adds 276 beds for the homeless, and supplies for seven organisations in Cape Town, according to Councillor JP Smith.

Happy Valley Home can accommodate 65 residents, 45 men and 20 women. The shelter could only add 10 additional bed spaces because of limited space. Its beds are almost always full.

During the winter homeless people “cry at the gate” said the manager, who did not wish to be named.

Happy Valley Home does not charge people to stay, but asks for a monthly contribution of up to R650. Residents get three meals per day, seven days a week.

Darren Feldman, who came to Happy Valley almost a year ago, said: “This place, honestly, has saved my life.”

When he arrived, he “couldn’t string a sentence together” he said. He had just completed his eighth drug rehabilitation programme, but the rehab centre closed down, leaving Feldman homeless.

At the shelter he created a personal development plan with the manager and set goals to reintegrate with society, as do all the Happy Valley Home residents. The shelter also helps people gain employment by assisting them with CVs and obtaining ID documents for them.

Feldman now works at the city’s waste department. “I’ve come out the other side,” he said. He hopes to rebuild his relationship with his wife and two children and reunite his family.

My dream is to be totally independent and send money home to my kids and donate money here (to Happy Valley),” said Feldman.

According to a street people report conducted in 2015 by the Directorate of Social Development and Early Childhood Development, there were 7,383 homeless people in the City. The report stated 4,862 people slept on the streets and 2,521 in shelters. 79% were male and nearly three-quarters were between the ages of 26 and 45. DM

Shelter name Number of beds for Men Number of beds for women Winter readiness additional beds Charge per night Includes
Elim Night Shelter 51 19 15 R15 if unemployed, R30 if employed Meals, shower, social work services
Mould Empower Serve 45 15 15 R8, possibly no charge if part of winter readiness plan Meals, shower, social work services, toiletries
Oasis Reach for a Dream 20 0 20 No charge
28 Somerset West Night Shelter 42 12 20 R15 Meals, shower, social work services
Happy Valley Home 45 20 10 Monthly contribution up to R650 Meals, shower, clothing, toiletries, social work services
Tygerberg Association for Street People 20 0 20 No charge Meals, shower, toiletries
Ubuntu Circle of Courage 15 0 15 R25, do not charge during winter Meals, toiletries
Haven Night Shelter (10 facilities) About 30 per shelter About 10 per shelter 146 total for all 10 shelters R12 or can earn stay by working for shelter, if income exceeds R1,400 then R750 per month Meals, shower, social work services
Carpenter’s Shop 40 0 15 No charge for those on winter readiness plan, others R1,000 per month Ablutions, social work services, clinic services, life skills training, clothing

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