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City disappointed by delay in CBD unlawful occupations matter due to late notice to oppose<p>'We are very disappointed at the extremely late notice to oppose which was filed by the Socio Economic Rights Institute (SERI) well beyond the deadline, which allowed over a month for such notice to be filed. With the court roll so full, a late filing such as this not only wastes state resources, but causes severe delays in the hearing of the matter. In the City's view, the net effect of this will be to keep people on the streets much longer through the Cape winter. </p><p>'The City welcomes any constructive engagement on our well-publicised plan to increase dignified transitional shelter and help more people off the streets, with court assistance where necessary. However it is most unfortunate that the  extensive delay in the hearing of our CBD application has been caused solely by the very late filing of the notice of opposition by SERI. </p><p>'The City remains of the view that no person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance. Our city's public places serve important social and community purposes, and must be open and available for all. Illegal occupations of City open spaces impact the safety of traffic and pedestrians, as well as local businesses critical to growing the economy. Accepting social assistance to get off the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being,' said Mayor Hill-Lewis.</p><p>In February, the court ordered the serving of eviction notices at unlawful occupation hotspots along Buitengracht Street, FW De Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, Taxi Rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge in the city.</p><p>Over time, City Social Development officials have made repeated offers of social assistance to those unlawfully occupying public spaces in the city, including offers of dignified transitional shelter at NGO-run night shelters and City-run Safe Spaces.</p><p>This is part of a city-wide approach of assessing the social circumstances of those living on the streets, while offering help and dignified transitional shelter. These facilities offer programmes to help people off the streets, and to reintegrate into society, or reunite with family. Addiction treatment, referral for psychiatric treatment, personal development planning and employment opportunities are also offered. </p><p>While some have accepted these offers of support, the unlawful occupants who received these notices are those who have consistently refused all offers of social assistance while continuing to unlawfully occupy busy intersections and road reserves in the CBD.</p><p>  The City approaches the court only in the last instance, in cases where all offers of support are indefinitely refused.</p><p>  <strong>City expanding Safe Space dignified transitional shelters</strong></p><p>The City will continue adding more transitional shelter beds in the coming months to help more people off the streets across different parts of the metro. </p><p>Public participation is currently open on an over 300-bed Safe Space for Green Point, to help people off the streets in the CBD and seaboard area. </p><p>In total, this will increase the City's Safe Space beds to around 750 in the CBD area, with around 450 beds across two Safe Space facilities at Culemborg in the east of the CBD. </p><p>Yet more new beds will follow as the City works to help expand NGO-run shelters operating on municipal-owned land in central Cape Town, as well as the annual seasonal bed boost as part of the City's Winter Readiness Campaign 2023.</p><p>The City will further increase Safe Space capacity in Bellville, Muizenberg, Durbanville and elsewhere in the metro, working together with NGO partners, CIDs and residents.</p><p>The City has budgeted R230m over the next three years to operate and expand Safe Space transitional shelter, a 62% increase over the previous three-year budget cycle. In total, the City's Street People programme budget amounts to R94,75m for 23/24, a 23% increase from 22/23 as the only metro dedicating a social development budget to this critical issue.</p><p>This is besides support to NGO-run shelters, including to help to expand beds at those operating on municipal land. Over three years, R75m will be available through grant-in-aid funding to NGOs, including those working to help people off the streets.</p><p>The City further runs the Matrix substance abuse treatment programme, with an 80% success rate for clients, addressing a key driver of why people end up on the streets.</p><p>The City's Safe Space model includes:</p><p>·       dignified shelter,</p><p>·       comfort and ablutions,</p><p>·       two meals per day,</p><p>·       access to a social worker on-site,</p><p>·       personal development planning,</p><p>·       various social services including ID Book and social grant assistance,</p><p>·       family reunification services</p><p>·       access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment,</p><p>·       skills training,</p><p>·       help finding a job, and</p><p>·       access to EPWP work placement</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>End</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><br></p>2023-04-18T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#e38c99a2-b6cc-4692-88be-17602acbc22a;L0|#0e38c99a2-b6cc-4692-88be-17602acbc22a|occupancy;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#d368d2c2-af0c-4605-8ff2-9b580dbe4bf8;L0|#0d368d2c2-af0c-4605-8ff2-9b580dbe4bf8|illegal occupancy;GP0|#90b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534;L0|#090b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534|Mayor10

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