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City's interventions to help the homeless applauded
Reuniting with families, access to employment and business opportunities, drug rehabilitation, access to health services, skills development and training, access to education and provision of accommodation are just some of the assistance the City has offered homeless people.

These accolades were reason for celebration when eThekwini Municipality observed World Homeless Day at the Bellhaven Memorial Hall on 10 October.

The event kicked off with a visit to the Jewish Homeless Shelter where a gardening programme by the homeless called ‘Clean Green and Safety Garden’ is thriving.   

The World Homeless Day event aimed to highlight the successes achieved by the City in its interventions made to improve the well-being of homeless residents, especially since national lockdown level 5.

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Councillor Belinda Scott said the City is working hard towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 11 which seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. “It is also important to note that with the continuous interventions and the comprehensive plans to aggressively address homelessness in the City, we are also contributing to the realisation of the National Drug Master Plan which aims to reduce supply and demand of drugs for non-medicinal use, increase harm reduction treatment approaches and prevent new drugs from entering the market,” said Councillor Scott.

Among other interventions that she highlighted were that the City, in collaboration with the Department of Social Development, was exposing about 2 200 homeless people to various technical skills across the 12 homeless shelters that were set up in the City.

Chief Executive Officer of We Are Durban, a non-profit organisation which has been working hand in hand with the City to help the homeless, Linda Morrison said what has been achieved has been a massive team effort that will go down in the history of Durban. “It is in this incredible time of tragedy that we have used what has been intended to harm for the good of those most vulnerable,” she said.

Homeless residents who have benefited from the City’s interventions shared their journeys of reuniting with their families, recovering from drug addiction and spoke passionately about their future plans.

Thabiso Dladla, 30, from uMlazi said his journey to recovery was not easy but with all the support, he is now living drug free. “I remember during the withdrawal stage, I never thought I would make it. But now I am a living testimony that the life of drugs and being on the streets can be overcome, as long as you have the right support,” said Dladla.

Academia, business and non-governmental organisation stakeholders including the Durban University of Technology and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry were also part of the event. The audience was also treated to a stage play by homeless residents titled “Greatness Within You”.

Nonhlanhla.mkhabela@durban.gov.za
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