From the news desk

City runs campaign on homelessness

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In a recent campaign by the City of Cape Town, a vending machine spewing small change onto the pavement was used to demonstrate to passersby how mahala coins keep vagrants glued to the street.

The campaign addressed the major homelessness issue in the City of Cape Town, which is especially worrying in the cold and rainy winter season.

On a daily basis, the City of Cape Town said in a statement, they receive numerous complaints from residents and tourists about aggressive begging and the growing number of people on the streets. The City’s Give Responsibly campaign seeks to break this cycle by offering street people an alternative and more permanent solution.

The campaign’s powerful video, posted to YouTube, shows how easily people choose to stay on the streets for longer than intended, when money randomly drops out of the vending machine on the corner of a Cape Town street.

In the video a cold drink vending machine with the label “out of order” spews out random coins when people walk past it. Naturally, people stop to pick up the coins when more money fall out of the faulty vending machine.

Some people even decide to wait around the machine in the hopes that more coins might be disposed.

One pedestrian even puts down his backpack beside the machine and waits, while another looks as if he is chasing a group school children away from the vending machine in a attempt to keep the coins to himself.

With the video, the City of Cape Town successfully shows how the giving of small change to beggars living on the street actually fuels the homeless dilemma facing Cape Town.

Rather than giving people on the street small change, the City is urging givers to donate to the Give Responsibly organisation, that aims to find homes and shelters for these people in need.

The City of Cape Town said that it welcomes any assistance given by residents and tourists to those who are less fortunate, especially during winter, but that the correct method should be applied.

Give Responsibly seeks to create awareness so that if residents would like to help, they do so responsibly in order to assist street people in the long-term.

The City’s Social Development Department calls on residents to please give responsibly by not giving hand-outs directly to street people, and instead donating to organisations that assist street people.

Councillor Suzette Little, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, says “We’ve seen that Capetonians have very big hearts are always ready to assist street people, especially during the colder months. As a caring city, we want to make sure that their contributions serve to assist recipients not just for a day or two, but in the long-term as well.”

She says that givers “can make a far greater impact by supporting the organisations that assist street people in finding job opportunities, reunite them with their families, and ultimately give them a second chance”.

The Chairperson of the City’s Homeless Agency Committee, Councillor Phindile Maxiti, supports the campaign’s focus on rehabilitation and says that as long as street people receive hand-outs from residents, they will not accept the City’s offers of long-term assistance.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the City’s toll-free number on 0800 872 201 to find out how they can donate to organisations that assist street people. Alternatively, SMS ‘Give’ to 38802 to donate R10.

The full amount of R10 will be used to supplement the street people programme.

City of Cape Town YouTube – News24

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