Oudtshoorn, 4 April 2018 – The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Mr. Albert Fritz officially opened the Oudtshoorn Shelter for Homeless People on Tuesday, 3 April 2018.
This ceremony which was held at the Oudtshoorn Shelter for Homeless People premises in Jubilee Street, South of Oudtshoorn was also attended by the Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Cllr. Colan Sylvester, Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Noluthando Mwati, representatives of the Department of Social Development in the Oudtshoorn Office and the newly elected board of the shelter.
Preservation of human dignity was a resonating message throughout this ceremony. “Dignity of a person is all that they have and we must, through the establishment of partnerships, do everything to restore self-worth in every person in the Greater Oudtshoorn,” said Cllr. Mwati as she opened the event.
Giving the background of the establishment of the shelter, Mayor Sylvester said the shelter was established in March last year and its main purpose is to restore the dignity of the people living in the streets. “One of the most important ways of creating dignity to people is to create a shelter, as enshrined in the constitution of the country.”
“The shelter is only the beginning; the next step is making it sustainable through devising creative means of making it a home. It is commendable that the management of the shelter has already created organic food gardens.”
“I furthermore challenge the community of the Greater Oudtshoorn to also stand up and join hands with us to ensure that the shelter is sustainable and it serves its purpose, adequately so. It is easy to criticize, but it would even be greater to criticize while also helping make a difference in the people’s lives,” said Sylvester.
Delivering the keynote address, Minister Fritz said: “I am extremely impressed by this initiative take by the community of the Oudtshoorn and all stakeholders involved.”
“We cannot discuss homelessness without discussing families; a family is the basic unit of care; it should provide an environment for the physical, emotional and social development of all its members.”
“It is, therefore, important to strengthen the family, if we are to tackle the spate of homelessness in the province. As Department, our partnerships with Municipalities are crucial in our fight against poverty, and efforts to get people off the streets.
“We have allocated R 47.6 million towards our services to families and shelters for the homeless.
In his conclusion, the minister added that the Department will focus on the following interventions over the next financial year:
• Develop a draft provincial strategy for prevention and early intervention;
• Provision of an adequate number and spread of essential prevention and early intervention programmes, family promotion and preservation services, therapeutic programmes and mediation services;
• Provision of targeted, age-appropriate and early intervention services for vulnerable and children at risk; Provision of safe shelters that offer programmes aimed at rehabilitating, reunifying and reintegrating homeless adults back into their families and communities of origin and:
• The application of norms and standards for services to families and shelters for homeless adults through the implementation of the Quality Assurance Policy Framework.
The chairperson of the shelter, Jason Pietersen expressed a word of gratitude to everyone who is contributing towards the establishment and sustainability of the shelter.