From the news desk

Hope Street, giving hope to the Homeless


As homeless individuals have for years been victim to the socioeconomic struggles of life on the street, one organization has stepped-up in the hopes of giving the homeless a new lease on life. Hope Street, which is an up and coming non-profit organization (NPO), has begun working within the homeless community of the City of Cape Town in a bit to build bonds with the community and assist in connecting it with viable employment opportunities. The organization, which is run by a group of volunteers, operates mainly in the Green Point and Sea Point areas and has grown in strength since its establishment.

Speaking to VOC, project coordinator, Gerald Petersen explained that the organizations mission is directed toward giving hope to the homeless people by networking with a number of other organisations to provide skills through training. The training will ensure that individuals are able to maintain a self-sustainable life and secure a better future for both themselves and their families.

Through its network, the organization endeavours to find employment that is suited for each homeless individual’s skills.

“If we find an NGO’s that provides skills for individuals that are good with their hands, then we would approach them and ask them how they can assist us – we provide that opening for people that we come into contact with,” Peterson stated.

In addition, he says that while the coordinators are in the process of registering Hope Street as an NPO, the organization currently provides homeless people in Sea Point with food every Saturday morning.

“One or two mothers died of hunger. So, we have taken up the initiative to on a Saturday morning give them soup and bread and help them out, just to get the homeless people closer to us.”

Given the fact that homeless individuals to a large extent are marginalized within society, Peterson notes that the organization is currently working to develop trust between itself and the homeless community through the feeding scheme.

In doing so, he says that the organization hopes to entrench itself within the community and be given access to as many individuals as possible, who wish to be assisted.

“We give them food, but it’s not a ‘freebie’; the idea to giving food is to build relationships and trust with human beings. Living on the street is hard and you lose trust,” he asserted.

Petersen says that once individuals have developed trust with the organization, they will be offered opportunities that are at their discretion to aspect.

“We are not there to force anyone to get off the streets, but we are there to give them an open door and to provide some light into their dark situation.”

As someone who was born and bred in the Sea Point area, he says that he has encountered individuals who have been residing on the street for more than 35 years.

He asserts that while the homeless community is very often viewed as part of the inanimate silhouette of the City, it is important for the greater Cape community to build relations with the homeless and to understand why they have resigned to a life on the street.

“Expressing that love and showing them that we do care and not just let them do something that’s going to help them, [since] we want them to see from their perspective and that this is something that they want,” he noted.

Petersen says that the main problem that homeless individuals are constantly faced with is the need to access food, where many search dirt bins that line the scenic beachfront for scraps of edible food.

He affirms that the feeding scheme has thus far been fruitful, with the biggest concern previously being the home owners of the property from which they operate.

“At the end of the day, they do own the property and these are homeless people [we are inviting in], who have not had access to bathing facilities in a very long time. So, we were just blown away by the generosity and love that the community has shown us and those who have indicated that they want to get involved,” Petersen said.

If you wish to get involved, email Gerald Peterson at geraldpetersen2@gmail.com.

VOC


WhatsApp WhatsApp us
Wait a sec, saving restore vars.