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City to bolster Care Programme to help people off the streets<p>The City’s Care Programme to help people off the streets already amounts to around R65 million annually, as the only metro in South Africa dedicating a social development budget to this issue. </p><p>To increase shelter bed spaces this winter, an extra R10 million was prioritised via the adjustment budget in January. This funding is now set for distribution to NGO-run shelters to scale up bed availability for when the worst weather arrives.</p><p>The next step is to expand existing Safe Spaces, starting immediately in the CBD, and to bring this model to more parts of Cape Town progressively in a shorter space of time. This will be a priority for the upcoming 2022 Budget and over the medium term.</p><p>The Safe Space model includes dignified shelter, comfort and ablutions, two meals per day, access to a social worker on-site, personal development planning, ID Book and social grant assistance, access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment, skills training, help to find a job, and EPWP work placement.</p><p>The City’s Reintegration Unit of social development and ECD professionals generally handles referrals to Safe Spaces.</p><p>These dedicated officials will be on the streets daily to engage people about solutions, including:</p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">reunification with family, </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">social assistance to overcome a temporary barrier to getting off the street, </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">alternative accommodation at City Safe Spaces and NGO-run shelters, </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">access to developmental programmes to become self-sustaining off the streets.</div></li></ul><p>Where offers of shelter and support are refused, the City will apply the By-Law on Streets, Public Places, and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances.</p><p>Cape Town’s amended Streets By-Law</p><p>Uniquely in SA, Cape Town’s amended By-Law on Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances now requires that alternative accommodation be offered. This ensures that sleeping and camping overnight in public places is no longer classified as an automatic offence if no other choice is available to a person. </p><p>The amendments effectively de-criminalise this conduct where no alternative is available, while still ensuring that every intervention of the City is oriented towards assisting people to move off the streets. Only after the refusal of offers of shelter and social assistance, will the law take its course. <br> <br>It is important for residents to note these five guiding principles for how the City will manage the issue of sleeping in public places under the amended by-law:</p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Cape Town must be, first and foremost, a caring city, that always tries first to help people off the streets.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">No person should live on the streets. This is unsafe, unhealthy, and undignified. Accepting sustainable solutions off the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Our city’s public places serve important social, community and economic purposes, and must be open and available to all. No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">It is not an offence to sleep on the streets if you do not have a choice. Only after refusing offers of shelter and social assistance, should the law take its course as a necessary last resort deterrent for the sustainable management of public places.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">The City encourages courts and prosecutors to ensure that rehabilitation is favoured over punitive fines and imprisonment, wherever it is just to do so in matters relating to prohibited conduct in public places.</div></li></ul><p>The City will follow this process in dealing with a person sleeping or camping overnight in a public place:</p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">A City Social Development & ECD staff member first meets a person to make an assessment, including the reasons for homelessness, physical and mental health, living conditions, sources of income. This will result in a referral for social assistance, which can include accommodation at a shelter or City-run safe space.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">If refused, a joint operation takes place in which shelter is offered and an instruction is given to dismantle a transient structure</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">If again refused, a compliance notice is issued, indicating the steps, deadline, and consequences of non-compliance.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">If not complied with, a written notice may be issued to appear in court. Offers of social assistance and shelter remain available at all times.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">If the person fails to appear, the court may issue a warrant of arrest. </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">It will then be up to the court and prosecutors to determine the way forward. The City would like to see the courts ordering rehabilitation, rather than opting for punitive measures such as fines or imprisonment.</div></li></ul><p>The Streets By-law does not circumvent the need for a court order where a structure is considered a dwelling under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unauthorised Occupation of Land (PIE) Act.<br> <br>In these instances, it is important that the City acts with care, and within the law, to acquire the necessary court order, and ensure alternative accommodation at shelters or safe spaces where this is just and equitable.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong>End</strong><br></p>2022-03-15T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#13dff606-5cfa-42c8-b9da-e6e516e6e771;L0|#013dff606-5cfa-42c8-b9da-e6e516e6e771|Street People;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#bbe101e4-917e-41c9-987d-f934274af40d;L0|#0bbe101e4-917e-41c9-987d-f934274af40d|destitute persons;GP0|#2a5efaf1-c8d4-42be-8809-9638cebaefd5;L0|#02a5efaf1-c8d4-42be-8809-9638cebaefd5|shelter10

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