Record number of Cold Front Sleeping Sites set up for the homeless

posted in: News, Press coverage | 2

VRCID Field Worker Allistair Scholtz with Sleeping Site visitor Paulina Silver.

 

Last month, a homeless individual living on the street in Kuils River died from exposure to Cape Town’s bitterly cold temperatures. “We’re living in the 21st century – we cannot let this happen. This is why Cold Front Sleeping Sites exist,” comments Ilse Maartens, Branch Manager of MES Cape Town.

As you may have already seen in our latest Weekend Argus feature, Because of this winter’s record-setting cold temperatures, together with Mould Empower Serve (MES), we have ramped up the number of Cold Front Sleeping Sites for the homeless this year.

“Eight years ago, together with our partner organisations, community members and businesses, we started the Bellville Cold Front Sleeping Site. Last year, we established two new sites in Parow and Durbanville. This year, we have set up more sleeping sites than ever before, with 10 so far and more to come. This is not only because it’s been a harsh winter, but also because we’ve had more donations and volunteers,” comments Maartens.

 

From left to right:

  • VRCID Field Worker Allistair Scholtz serving dinner for the homeless.
  • A homeless individual washing their feet and receiving clothing donations.
  • A homeless individual reading a book from the Sleeping Site’s bookshelf.

 

“I think one of the reasons why we’ve had more donations is because Covid-19 made people’s lives come to a standstill. You have time to reflect on how you’re living, and how you’re giving back. Since June, Bellville’s Debonairs donated 30 pizzas, Shoprite donated 90 blankets, a R3 000 voucher, and warm meals, Tyger Valley donated food, and there have been many community members calling to make donations,” adds Maartens.

Veronica Geduld, one of three VRCID Field Workers from our Social Development team, said: “when the homeless arrive at the site, they’re just so happy to be dry, warm and well fed, and many of them just want to sleep. I sit and talk to them, to build trust, and we make jokes to make them feel at ease.”

The homeless playing Dominos after suppertime.

 

VRCID Field Worker Allistair Scholtz, added: “When they arrive, we take the register and screen them, and allocate each individual to a bed, with women on the one side of the room and men on the other. We hand out the clothing donations to those who don’t have proper clothing or shoes. After suppertime, they play Dominos, and the elderly love to read books.”

VRCID Field Worker Tonio Gantana added: “in the morning, we give them coffee and breakfast, and we say a prayer. Our goal is for them to be one step closer to believing that change is possible.”

“It’s a force multiplier when strategic, organised companies like the VRCID invest in our work. Their stamp of credibility has allowed us to scale our solution. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t just have to be MES – that’s the beauty of it,” concludes Maartens.

 

You can show your community love and support by donating any of the following to MES Cape Town, on 3 Davis St, Bellville:

  • Blankets
  • Bread, jam or peanut butter (sandwiches)
  • Soup
  • Socks
  • Warm clothes
  • Shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Electricity (you can opt to provide a cash donation for electricity, or to buy electricity).

 

If you would like to donate or volunteer, you can contact:

Clarina Hanekom, Fund Raiser at MES:

 

Anelle Erasmus, PR & Resource Developer at MES

 

Read our feature in Weekend Argus here

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Lynn Rahbeeni

    Hi, i am so happy to hear of these sites for the homeless. I was just wondering if you have any sites in Kraaifontein? The homeless situation in that area has quadrupled since covid, many sleeping on shop stoeps exposed to this harsh weather with no cover from increment conditions. I would appreciate if someone could reply to my email regarding this matter.

    • admin

      I think the idea would be that they are welcome to contact Ilse for guidance.  If a church in Kraaifontein e.g. wants to participate in such an initiative, they can organise volunteers, mattresses and blankets and make their church hall available for Cold Front Sleeps.  MES or VRCID unfortunately do not have the capacity to extend to this area, but we are more than willing to assist them in setting up the project and train their volunteers.