Durban scrambles to provide shelter for homeless

There were are more than 1‚000 homeless people roaming the streets of Durban as NGOs and municipal officials scrambled to finalise accommodation ahead of the for them less than 12 hours before the national lockdown.
There were are more than 1‚000 homeless people roaming the streets of Durban as NGOs and municipal officials scrambled to finalise accommodation ahead of the for them less than 12 hours before the national lockdown.
Image: ALON SKUY

There were more than 1‚000 homeless people roaming the streets of Durban as NGOs and municipal officials scrambled to finalise accommodation ahead of the national lockdown.

This is according to Raymond Perrier‚ the director of the Denis Hurley Centre‚ a civic body that helps the poor.

“We think there are somewhere between 1‚000 and 2‚000 people who are on the streets of Durban facing lockdown.

“And we don’t know‚ and as far as I can tell even the police don’t know‚ what they’re supposed to do with those people if they find them after midnight tonight‚”  Perrier said.

After the announcement of a lockdown on Monday night‚ Perrier has been having meetings with the municipality and other organisations to finalise formal shelter for the homeless during the 21-day lockdown.

“The Durban homeless network‚ the Denis Hurley Centre and other NGOs have been working very closely with the deputy mayor and some senior municipal officials to respond to the president’s challenge to create an emergency homeless shelter‚” he said.

Perrier said that the city was fortunate to already have an established committee to deal with homelessness.

“What’s a positive is we have already established an eThekwini task team on homelessness for the past 18 months‚ which I chair.

“That means we already had a forum in which municipal officials and NGOs are engaging on subjects. And that’s given us a huge advantage over other cities‚” he said.

Once an implementation plan is finalised‚ the municipality will in conjunction with the department of health screen people for the virus‚ other illnesses and identify those who may be addicted to drugs to properly classify them and offer the help they need.

Municipal spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said they had earmarked venues for the homeless but this was in the process of being finalised. — TimesLIVE

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