As an organisation, our first project follows in the footsteps of the Van Riebeeck Park Pilot Project, with the aim to provide support to unhoused community members and information to all community members in the Devil’s Peak Vredehoek area.
The support will be provided by a part-time fieldworker, Chantel Sampson who will be supervised and mentored by our amazing partners from the Streetscapes Programme at Khulisa Social Solutions. To start, Chantel will dedicate three days a week to DPV Outreach taskings, while the other two days she will work for Streetscapes. She is supported by and will work with Sibusiso and Sicelo who are Streetscapes’ outreach workers. DPV Outreach is excited to be partnering with Streetscapes in this new initiative.
As with the Van Riebeek Park pilot project, we will start off with Chantel walking the area to introduce herself and DPV Outreach to people who are either living rough in our parks or on our streets, or who come into the area to look for work and to beg. With Streetscapes’ assistance, we have developed a short census document that will allow Chantel to gather basic information from the people she speaks to, for instance, their names, gender, how long they have been living on the street or coming into our area, where they come from, and what their most pressing needs are.
No one will be coerced or forced to share personal information, and it will be treated as confidential. The data will be collated and analysed and we anticipate that it will give DPV Outreach a good idea of where we as a community need to focus, and how we can best link people needing assistance with social services and rehabilitation programmes. We know that it will take time to build trust and confidence but we hope that as people on the street get to know Chantel, they will take that first step to reach out to her.
Streetscapes’ mandate is to work with the chronic homeless, drawing them into a structured work environment at their vegetable gardens, which act as an entry point to their rehabilitation programmes. Streetscapes’ experience is that when people are given the opportunity to earn a regular stipend, they are then able to find accommodation and stabilise their lives. A safe place to live then allows them to face up to the issues that drove them on to the street in the first place. Streetscapes has a high success rate of helping homeless people to move off the street. We are looking forward to learning from them as together we are sure we can make a difference.