City increases Safe Space capacity with Culemborg Expansion site opening

19 Jul 2020 in Where We Govern

The site was opened just more than a week ago, and can accommodate 96 persons in terms of prevailing social distancing protocols.

Two years after the opening of its first Safe Space for street people, the City of Cape Town has operationalised the third such facility, called the Culemborg Expansion site (adjacent to the original Safe Space).

Residents at the expansion site received blankets, mattresses and vanity packs upon entry. They are receiving three meals a day, and will have access to numerous personal development programmes and services, including:

  • Substance abuse intervention
  • Strengthening family ties
  • Job and work readiness skills
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Exit Strategy with the support of the SD&ECD Street People Programme Staff

This third facility has been set up just months after another safe space was opened at Paint City in Bellville.

Collectively, the three sites will be able to accommodate nearly 700 persons under normal conditions. However, in line with social distancing protocols instituted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the capacity is currently at approximately 360 for all sites combined.

The Culemborg Expansion site consists of prefabricated structures that can each accommodate 24 persons currently, as well as ablution facilities. For the moment, portable toilets and water tanks are being utilised while the water and sewer connections are finalised.

Despite its proximity to the flagship Safe Space, the expansion site will operate independently, but take learnings from the older space and apply these where necessary. Codes of conduct and other processes have been shared between the two spaces.

‘Our Safe Spaces are not traditional shelters. They are transitional facilities for persons who have expressed a willingness to accept assistance, but they also help alleviate the pressure on existing shelters, particularly during the colder months when more people seek shelter. We are therefore extremely pleased that we have been able to open our third safe space.

‘With these spaces and the services that are available to the occupants, the City, through its service providers, hopes to embark on a journey with every individual that will get them to a point where they can access grants or employment opportunities, and find their way to an existing home or a new one,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

Recently, the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department disbursed R20 million in grant-in-aid funding to numerous Non-Governmental organisations, including those working in the street people sector.

Other interventions that are in the pipeline include the expansion of existing shelter spaces through the placement of prefabricated structures on City-owned land adjacent to the shelters, to increase the number of persons who can be accommodated.

‘We are also working on a process to update our Street People Policy, which has been in place for the past seven years, with the aim of devising a strategy for how the City addresses the issue going forward, and effecting meaningful change in the lives of those who find themselves on the street. We will be undertaking a series of dialogues with the street people sector in the coming months to help inform the strategy,’ added Councillor Badroodien.