Feeding the needy during lockdown

Homeless people waiting for breakfast at the Haven Night Shelter in Claremont.

The Haven Night Shelter is staying open to help the homeless during the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has 15 shelters throughout the province, including ones in Sea Point, District Six, Woodstock, Claremont, Bellville, Wynberg and Retreat.

Haven Night Shelter CEO Hassan Khan says they’re finding it hard during lockdown to raise money to buy food for the various shelters.

They’re also trying to get about 300 blankets for those they help.

Mr Khan has urged the public to abide by the lockdown and not take donations to shelters at this time.

“While the City is trying to move the extra homeless people who can’t get into a shelter, our advice to the homeless people during the lockdown is to stay near the shelter until the authorities arrive.”

The Haven would provide the homeless with food while they waited, he said.

More than 200 homeless are being housed in tents in the expanded Safe Space under Culemborg Bridge on the Foreshore. But according to Mr Khan there are still around 900 homeless people in the inner City from Sea Point to Woodstock.

“The Haven Night Shelter is a home away from home. The homeless people that come here have a cupboard and bed, and we try within six months to reconnect them with their family and to reintegrate them into the community.”

Shelter staff were wearing masks, keeping the shelters clean, and there were strict restrictions on who can handle food, he

“The staff is doing amazing work under the circumstances. We can deal with difficult clients who are drug users, though the staff is treating them with dignity, and this has been an amazing experience.”

The City started moving street people to the Culemborg site last weekend.

“The City’s law enforcement department escorted persons to the site, which will accommodate 150 to 200 homeless people in tents,” said Mayco member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien.

The homeless would be screened for Covid-19 symptoms, he said.

Ward Councillor Dave Bryant said all the homeless in Cape Town should be given shelter at additional lockdown facilities in the coming week.

“This process is being carried out by the City’s social development team in accordance with the directives from national Government and will include people residing in Woodstock and Salt River and anywhere else in the Cape Town metro.”

Ward councillor Sharon Cottle said she was concerned about the homeless in her ward, especially in Claremont, Kenilworth and Harfield Village.

“So far, most of them have refused assistance from the social development teams,” she said.

“I will continue to liaise with the relevant officials in this regard so that the homeless people receive the necessary assistance.”

Visit www.haven.org.za/donate, call 021 425 4700 or WhatsApp Mr Khan at 083 281 0339 if you would like to help The Haven.