Knysna Business Chamber’s position on the homeless shelter

The Greater Knysna Business Chamber welcomes the establishment of a Homeless Shelter in Knysna. Members of the Chamber have worked with, and continue to work with, various stakeholders in Knysna for the establishment of such a shelter. 

We have recently received multiple requests from people to indicate our position towards the Homeless Shelter, and specifically the location of the envisaged shelter behind the Municipal Office in Queen Street. 

It is not the Chamber’s role to make decisions on siting, budget, tenders, etc., and we certainly will not interfere in the political domain. We do, however, interact and offer support where needed to Councilors and the municipality of Knysna to seek solutions. 

For a long-term solution the municipality needs to identify land and establish a permanent social development hub of which a shelter would be but one part. As such, this should form part of the municipality’s spatial development framework for the town. 

Until then we need a temporary shelter to meet the immediate need. 

Best-practice shelters provide only temporary, and not permanent, accommodation for homeless people. Their exit strategy is to provide the skills required to gain employment, and to benefit from job creation initiatives focused on job placement to gain work experience. The Knysna Business Chamber is intimately involved in developing these initiatives together with the municipality and the various skills development programmes across the Garden Route. 

The way forward for the Chamber and the shelter is to call on all interested groups,  members of the community, and businesspeople to get involved in rethinking our town’s spatial development planning. In supporting this and other initiatives from the Greater Knysna Business Chamber, we can together find long-term, permanent solutions to the homeless problem, and to many other issues pertaining to Knysna.

The Chamber has identified appropriate land for the purpose of a shelter, and can and will make recommendations to the municipality in this regard. The Chamber has recently formed a subcommittee on property and related matters to address issues pertaining to spatial development planning, routes, nodes, and urban living efficiency whilst protect the natural beauty of our town. 

As business we cannot allow the town to become dilapidated, and will always keep both the progressive of town, and inclusiveness, as our goals.  

We call on all  business people who have Knysna interest at heart to join our efforts.

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