Significant portion of street homeless resists and rejects services provided for them resulting in negative health, social and legal impact on both the individuals as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods. This group has become the number one cause of public complaints in Cape Town. Streetscapes was developed in 2015 to address this problem.
Importantly, Streetscapes complements existing emergency relief type of services with an approach that caters for the multidimensional needs of the chronic homeless while addressing stigma and disconnect in communities.
The project provides an integrated work-based rehabilitation and reintegration model, including supported employment opportunities, housing and psychosocial support. The beneficiaries gain the motivation, income and opportunities to address the chaotic nature of their lives, and tradition towards an independent happy life.
This past year importantly helped us test if the positive results achieved during the pilot phase can be sustained when more clients and services are added
Greatest progress has been achieved in our ‘housing first’ provision, quadrupling the number of people we can help with accommodation. Since its launch, Streetscapes has assisted hundreds of chronic homeless people and reached a 66% success rate in moving people off the streets within a year. Since opening Streetscapes houses, we have been able to improve this score to 79% in the first 6 months.
In stark contrast to five years ago, there seems to be an acceptance now that policing chronic homelessness doesn’t work. We have been able to build new partnerships and increase financial and other support.
For instance, some of the historically most vocal critics of homeless people in the CBD, small businesses on Long Street and a middle-class area resident association have formally partnered with us to develop more rehabilitative opportunities for these problematic clients. Local government has increased their support and invited us to represent Vulnerable Groups in the CBD ward committee. We have also been able to systematise our data collection and participate in research projects to address current knowledge gap around homelessness. Especially the formalised partnership with Human Sciences Research Council has been very valuable in this regard.
Doubling the number of beneficiaries in Streetscapes programme during the past 12 months has not impacted negatively on the impact of the programme. In fact, attendance, retention and moving off the streets scores have improved.
COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented situation to everyone. It worsened an already bad situation for street homeless in Cape Town. Streetscapes beneficiaries continued having access to services – and housing – and therefore were largely spared from suffering. Others living on the street have endured such as loss of income, basic services and increased harassment.
- 90 beneficiaries full time in the programme, earning R 2300 per month
- Beneficiaries supporting financially 42 indirect beneficiaries
- Moving off the street 79%
- Retention 83% in 3 months, 66% in 12 months.
- 4 organic gardens, 5 cleaning sites
- Two housing first projects providing accommodation
StreetUni Cape Town was launched in the beginning of 2019. Its purpose is to attract and facilitate the involvement of VolunTrainees (Interns/volunteers) in Streetscapes with specific functions that range from research to supporting functions of the community project.
Since inception, it has facilitated the involvement of 7 international graduates from Holland, United States, France and Canada. There have been numerous UCT and Stellenbosch students participating in various projects, with one of them been a long-term VolunTrainee and helping in one of the street cleaning projects. High school learners from Westerford High and Macassar High have also done volunteer work in the garden projects.
The aim of StreetUni is twofold. Firstly to facilitate VolunTrainees in the programme and secondly to raise funding for the sustainable development of Streetscapes.