PUBLIC-PRIVATE partnerships could be one of the solutions to address challenges associated with homeless people in the City. This emerged during a site visit to areas occupied by homeless people in the City on 16 August. Head of the Safer Cities Unit Martin Xaba said eThekwini is on a factfinding mission to establish a system to address homelessness. “This is a challenge in the City which requires a holistic and lasting solution.
Assisting homeless people is an unfunded mandate of the Municipality, hence we are working towards the development of a policy to care and integrate homeless communities into socioeconomic programmes,” said Xaba. He said the City is working with private companies, non-governmental organisations, and community-based organisations to address the issue of homelessness.
There are currently approximately 16 000 homeless people in and around the City. “We have a planned series of workshops with various organisations and stakeholders to share ideas to hopefully assist us deal with the plight of many people and businesses affected by this issue. We are a caring City, and we have many interventions directed to assist homeless people,” said Xaba. Director of City People eThekwini, Sikho Msomi said they are working with the City to address social challenges facing the homeless. Umbilo Business Forum Policy Director Ian Campbell-Gillies said a high degree of cooperation is required to generate a social solution in the City. Areas that were visited included Dalton, Umbilo, Margaret Mncadi Avenue, and Bellhaven Memorial Centre.