Jobs for homeless people at stake as stimulus funding ends

The Cape Town project, which funds, among other things, the employment of hundreds of homeless people, could end soon.

According to the City of Cape Town, the Presidency in 2020 announced an Employment Stimulus Plan in response to the catastrophic economic impact of the pandemic. As part of the plan, municipalities were offered to upgrade public employment programs by applying for funding.

The National Fund donated R160 million to the City. Among the projects included in the Public Employment Program (PEP) was a project focused on addiction and reintegration support for homeless people.

Souper Troopers is a nonprofit organization based in the city center that helps homeless people through counseling, skills training, family mediation, job preparation, and creative workshops, among other things.

According to Caryn Gootkin of the organization, Souper Troopers currently employs 25 people. The project was among many nonprofits who collaborated under Khulisa Streetscapes who received funding from the City to employ 500 homeless people.

Gootkin said their funding is only until the end of June. “We are working with our NGO partners [headed by Khulisa] find ways to complete this program. We are not sure if there will be a gap between this installment ending at the end of June and the next program which may start later this year, ”she said.

When we visited the group in Bree Street, we met 36-year-old Chuma Somdaka from Gugulethu. She said she was forced to leave home eight years ago after being harassed and assaulted because of her sexuality.

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She explained that living on the streets in Gardens with her prosthetic leg is even more of a challenge. She was hit by a car in 2007 and when her mother, who lives in East Cape, lost her job she was also forced to drop out of college for a second year.

Somdaka is now one of the many people who have benefited from the project. Each member receives a monthly stipend for their work including cleaning, painting and gardening. Somdaka said since joining the Souper Troopers, she has become optimistic about her prospects for the future.

Souper Troopers has launched a petition to Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis to oppose the cessation of funding. The petition, with almost 1,666 signatures to date, calls on the government to continue to fund projects like theirs.

“One of the partner organizations registered for this program is running a support housing project in the Observatory. There are currently 24 people living there who make rent contributions from the stipends they earn on the program. Without these salaries, they are likely to return to living on the streets and in public spaces due to the lack of suitable accommodation and shelters, ”says the petitioner.

Grant Twigg, Mayco Member for Urban Waste Management, said the City will be applying for additional funding from the national government. He said the PEP funding has helped create more than 3,000 temporary job opportunities for residents.

“The City is doing everything possible to help these vulnerable residents. We look forward to continuing the valuable projects that have emerged due to PEP funding. We are in touch with the Treasury on the way forward and look forward to releasing additional funding, ”said Twigg. Until funding is secured, the fate of everyone employed by the project is at stake.

Efforts to obtain clear Exchequer funding for municipal funding have paid off.

This article first appeared on GroundUp and is published with permission. Read the original article here.

Jobs for homeless people at stake as stimulus funding ends Source link Jobs for homeless people at stake as stimulus funding ends

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