URGENT: Don't stop the Public Employment Program tackling homelessness in Cape Town

URGENT: Don't stop the Public Employment Program tackling homelessness in Cape Town

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Sarah Driver-Jowitt started this petition to The Honourable Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis (The Mayor of Cape Town)

Join your voice to the call for The City of Cape Town to not discontinuing the Public Employment Programme (PEP) addressing homelessness in Cape Town at the end of June this year. 

Khulisa Streetscapes, via a MOA with the City of Cape Town, has partnered with 13 local NGOs to deliver a programme of work and support to street based people. 

This programme kicked off at the beginning of this year (after some delays) and there are already close to 600 clients participating in this initiative through partner organisations. Six months is, in no way, long enough to enable meaningful change in people’s lives, it’s just the first step on the journey. 

If the programme stops, it will damage future initiatives.  Defunding will leave vital and passionate organisations (who are running initiative on the basis of this funding) in a worse position than when they started, having invested time and resources into starting these vital projects. The clients too will experience not only practical suffering, but also an enormous blow to their fragile self esteem hampering future programmes. 

We believe funds are available for projects like this to continue in Cape Town for 3 years, but there are capacity concerns within City departments with regards the management and oversight of these type of projects.  If the Khulisa Streetscapes led project ends after June this year, close to 600 people will be right back where they started – without work, without dignity and in many cases, without a roof over their heads.  We’re running out of time to make plans, and transitions need to be planned.

In Observatory alone, funding under this MOA has allowed the Observatory Improvement District (OBSID) to manage a work-based rehabilitation programme, with meals, travel stipends as well as psychosocial support from a Social Worker and a Community Worker.  This programme offers people who have lived on the streets of Observatory for many years the chance to belong, to learn work skills, to earn a stipend and to access various forms of support including medical assistance. All 9 clients in this programme are currently living off the streets. Given more time and funding, OBSID could enrol even more people in the programme - making a meaningful difference in more lives.

One of the partner organisations registered for this programme is running a supportive housing project in Observatory, currently housing 24 people who make rental contributions towards the running costs from the stipends they earn on the programme.  Without these stipends, they would most likely be back living on the streets and in public spaces given the lack of suitable accommodation and shelter beds in the City.

With the arrival of winter and bitterly cold and wet conditions on the streets, it is inconceivable that the City would want to expose this vulnerable population to such a risk – particularly since the City has stated it’s intent to address their needs through “socially sensitive” approaches.

We’re begging the City of Cape Town to reconsider ending funding for this vital programme which has had significant impact in a short period of time and can do more if given the chance.

Read here for another examples of how this funding is working in the Voortrekker Road Improvement Corridor (VRCID)  Expanded Public Works Programme.

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!