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A ‘One Stop Intervention Centre’ for the Homeless

A ‘One Stop Intervention Centre’ for the Homeless

Talking housing and providing shelters for the homeless was the topic of discussion at the recent UFC @ DUT seminar held last week.

Guest speakers Omar Osman Riberia and Sean Gary Davids centred their topics of discussion around DUT’s proposal to the MEC to establish the first one stop intervention centre for the homeless and interlinked to this will be the vision to create transitional shelters, and assisted housing.

Omar Osman Riberia is the Managing Director of National Social Housing Projects NPC. He has been an entrepreneur with over 17 years of experience in property management, providing accommodation (shelters) for the homeless. He is also the Managing Director of International Refugee Services PBO.

Sean Gary Davids is the CEO of National Social Housing Projects NPC. He is a building conversion specialist as well as the marketing manager of International Refugee Services PBO. He works closely with stakeholders which include the Qalakabusha Albert Park Intervention Integrated Planning Forum as well as composing norms and standards for shelters with Safer Cities.

The Durban Qalakabusha one stop intervention centre and forum has already began taking homeless people living in Albert Park to offer them a fresh start.

According to Sean Gary Davids, Chief Executive Officer of National Housing Projects (NPC),  the Qalakabusha Albert Park intervention programme was basically an incentive of the eThekwini municipality, mayor James Nxumalo. “We took to the homeless people of Albert Park in order to give them a fresh start, and that is where the concept came in and that is how the Qalakabusha Albert Park forum began. The project is not only aimed at eradicating the homeless but to also make Durban a liveable city by 2030 where there will be no homeless people loitering or living in the streets,” he said.

The Qalakabusha intervention programme is a project which does not only aim to eliminate vagrancy, loitering and drug abuse from the streets, under bridges and Durban’s central Parks such as Albert Park but also aims to also address the social needs of the people living there. The Qalakabusha intervention programme is a pilot project, and if it proves to be a successful in Durban, it will be rolled out throughout the province’s municipalities and nationally. This project is to address the social ills that still face the eThekwini metro in order to make it safer, cleaner and more attractive. The one stop intervention programme also aims to bring together basic services that the homeless have not had access to, such as social development, Home Affairs, and Health services. The partnership consists of various stakeholders working together as a collective from government, academic institutions and non-government organisations.

Riberia, said both presentations done by him and Davids centred around the  proposal to the MEC of Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu. “Once the MEC and the municipality have accepted our proposition we aim to design and build homes that are affordable. The National Social Housing Projects NPC aims to ensure that the buildings that are sustainable. We believe that good designs will help in establishing trust between the provider and the community,” he said.

According to the National Social Housing Projects NPC, 65% of the homeless people in the streets are South African citizens, 35% consists of foreign nationals, refugees and illegal immigrants.  From the statistics they have gathered at the centre, 28% is from Albert Park, 17% from Umgeni Road, 10% from Bertha Mkhize Street, 8,7% from South Beach, 8,3% Berea Park, 7% from Mansel Road, 3,8 % from Esplanade, 1% from JN Singh Street and 16,2% were found just living around the CBD.

The general consensus from the event was to continue further discussions on the issue of the one stop intervention programme with the city and the government and iron out challenges as well as find means and ways to bring together basic services for the homeless living in the CBD.

– Noxolo Memela

Pictured: Omar Osman Riberia, Managing Director of National Housing Projects with  Sean Gary Davids, Chief Executive of National Housing Projects, at the UFC seminar.

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