Mahatma Gandhi said that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Unfortunately, as South Africans, we are desensitised in part to the poverty that permeates our ordinary lives. Used to the sight of the radical impact our ever-expanding gap between the haves and have nots creates. While many of us want to help, most are uneducated on the extraordinarily complex issues that create and sustain homelessness.
Due to our own basic understanding of these ever-evolving issues, it makes a greater difference when we partner with and give back to organisations equipped with the infrastructure, skill and experience to combat homelessness and help in a sustainable way.
“Handouts of cash given to desperate – often mentally ill people – add fuel to the same addictions that put them on the streets. Institutions such as our partners at The Haven Night Shelter have spent decades building, perfecting and maintaining the social infrastructure to efficiently maximise the impact of our donations and the results are inarguable,” says Jaco Wessels, COO of our appointed urban management company Geocentric.
Here are our top recommendations of non-profit organisations active in 2022 and how to contribute to their vision responsibly:
The Haven Night Shelter
Like us, they believe that there comes a stage in the downward path at which individuals cannot help themselves and are dedicated to being there to give them the lift they need. They help by making temporary shelter, rehabilitation opportunities, social welfare services, family reunification services, physical care and support available to adult people living on the streets. Helping to holistically ensure the reintegration of the homeless community into society.
We call often on their dedicated team of trained field workers to delicately encourage resistant people to come off the streets and get the person back home. The process is often a lengthy one and involves logging the person on the relevant City database of homeless people, trying to track down that person’s family and making contact, assisting with travel arrangements and following up with the family to check the individual is safe.
To get in touch:
Call them on +27 (21) 425 4700 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit their website here to find more information on how you can help.
Here are some tips on how you can help responsibly:
- Donate directly to a registered and legitimate NGO in your area. Your donations do not have to be monetary either so be on the lookout for clothing items, towels, tents, blankets, pillows, bags or non-perishable groceries for institutions such as FoodForward SA.
- Support charities and campaigns by advocating to prevent homelessness on social media. By following and sharing posts of organisations such as Women’s Shelter Movement, Ons Plek and Youth Solutions Africa you help grow their followings and advocate their cause.
- Volunteer your time or professional skills. Everyone from the accountants among us to the karate teachers has a unique offering that can improve the lives of those less fortunate – so ask your local charities how you may dedicate your skill to improving their offering.
Since the ratio of people in need of help, and the help available, is so unbalanced many NGOs and NPOs are left with tight funds to run the businesses themselves. By donating your, time, skill, possessions or money in a responsible way you not only help make our district a safer space but provide our homeless residents with the chance to rekindle a sense of pride, community, and dignity.