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CoCT urged to take responsibility for homeless people removed from Strandfontein

During the lockdown, hundreds of homeless people were accommodated at a temporary facility in Strandfontein, but it closed at the end of April and people were moved to smaller sites.

The Strandfontein site, in Cape Town, which is housing homeless people during the COVID-19 lockdown. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A group of homeless people in the CBD is calling on the City of Cape Town (CoCT) to step up and take responsibility for them.

During the lockdown, hundreds of homeless people were accommodated at a temporary facility in Strandfontein, but it closed at the end of April, and people were moved to smaller sites.

There was still a group of about 170 who said they were left on the pavement at the Culemborg safe space after they were moved from a homeless camp.

The city has told Eyewitness News they're still in the process of extending the site but had encountered delays.

The homeless people are now at the Community Chest office in the CBD.

As you enter the Community Chest building, there are notes with COVID-19 related information posted on the walls and doors along with the basic house rules.

Office tables and chairs are replaced with mattresses and small tents, which are spaced out in parts of the building.

The homeless people have been through a tough time. They were moved several times, faced officers at the Strandfontein site who they said treated them badly, and they had COVID-19 scares.

A few weeks ago, a group of homeless people were camping under a bridge in the cold and rain and were allowed to stay at the building until the city made some sort of progress on the extended site.

An emotional Carlos Mesquita said it was a rough journey and he was truly grateful.

“Community Chest organised for all the 170 to be tested for the virus and paid for it just to allow us to have dignity,” he said.

He said after weeks of decommissioning of the Strandfontein site, they were still waiting for communication from the city.

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