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City establishes task team to assist the homeless
​Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer with the newly elected task
team that was established to address and fi nd sustainable
solutions to dealing with homelessness in eThekwini.
A MULTI-SECTORAL task team has been established to assist in finding holistic solutions to address and combat homelessness in eThekwini Municipality.

The team comprising City officials, community representatives, business owners, faith based organisations and government organisations was convened after Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer held a homeless engagement forum at the Durban City Hall on 13 September.

Councillor Peer said the City has learnt valuable lessons about homelessness over the years and is exploring a more inclusive approach to address this complex challenge. Several intervention have been implemented by the City following a 2016 study, which indicated that there are about 4000 people who are regarded as homeless living in the inner city. According to the study, the prominent driving forces for increased homelessness in eThekwini is unemployment, drug and substance abuse and family disagreements.

As part of an ongoing concerted effort by the City to address homelessness, about 400 homeless people have been assisted by the Municipality in recent months. Among those reached by the City’s social workers between April and June 2018, as part of an outreach programme, include 223 drug users, four mentally ill patients and four foreign nationals. Furthermore, 38 homeless people have undergone skills audit in preparation for a skills development training which will be offered later.
These figures attest to the fact that great strides continue to be made by the Municipality to assist the homeless.

Furthermore, a staggering R1, 7 million to fund two drop in or referral centres for the homeless was approved by Council in November 2017. The amount will be used to refurbish the two buildings, situated at Margaret Mncadi Avenue (formerly Victoria Embankment) and Dalton.
Councillor Peer said the task team has been established at a crucial time as it coincides with the latest annual crime statistics released by the South African Police Service. “We have acknowledged that homelessness is a reality and there are many factors that drive people to come to Durban which is KwaZulu-Natal’s economic hub.

It is also important that we are cognisant of the roles and responsibilities of all three spheres of government, give clarity on the gaps and limitations thereof as this requires high level collaborative measures to achieve a common objective.” Councillor Peer said the City, together with the task team will find solutions to better regulate shelters for the homeless.
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