A new 300-bed overnight shelter for homeless people in Green Point, Cape Town, is set to be completed by the end of the year. Named “Safe Space” by the City, the project has garnered full support from The Green Point Ratepayers and Residents Association (GPRRA).
Importance of Overnight Shelters
Elizabeth Knight, GPRRA chair of the human environment committee, highlights the importance of overnight shelters in assisting the homeless population. In light of the challenges posed by the economy and the growing number of people needing aid, Knight urges residents to consider the needs of people experiencing homelessness and focus on Safe Spaces’ positive aspects. In addition, the GPRRA aims to collaborate with other community representatives to ensure the shelter’s success and integration within the community.
Public Comments and Recommendations
As the deadline for public comment on the project approaches May 8, Knight reveals that recommendations are being made to the City. She emphasizes the dependence on psychosocial services and job creation provided by the Safe Space model. Although shelters are short-term solutions, Knight acknowledges the personal development they foster for those helped off the streets.
Spider Clark, the chairperson of the neighboring De Waterkant Civic Association (DWCA), supports the initiative in principle. However, Ndodana Hadebe, chairperson of the Homeless Action Coalition, points out that Safe Spaces need better management.
The homeless man living beneath the Ebenezer Road bridge where the Green Point Safe Space will be erected, Makhaya Mkheto, favors the new shelter program—neighborhood business owners also back the proposed overnight refuge in the Ebenezer Road region.
Patricia van der Ross, Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, states that a working group will be formed to examine public comments following the submission deadline. According to Van der Ross, the City will soon consider using other municipally owned locations in Bellville, Muizenberg, and Durbanville as Safe Spaces.
To assist Cape Town’s homeless population, the City intends to invest R77 million this year and R230 million over the following three years (a 62% increase). The Safe Space initiative seeks a temporary solution for those in need while working toward more permanent and long-term housing for the homeless population. Neighborhood associations, local businesses, and the City government support it.