Welcome to the Devil’s Peak Vredehoek (DPV) Outreach Newsletter!
This World Homeless Day (10 October), we are so excited to announce a new project in our neighbourhood to create a thriving and safe Devil’s Peak Vredehoek community that is inclusive of all, family-friendly, ecologically sustainable, and commercially attractive.
Did you know?
“Cape Town has a very high level of chronic homelessness – 50% compared to 5-25% in other countries. The longer someone is on the streets, the more costly and harder it is to help them to leave the streets long term. It is therefore a significant challenge that such a large proportion of Cape Town’s homeless are chronic homeless. Urgent action is required to break this cycle.”
– Jonathan Hopkins, James Reaper, Sam Vos & Gemma Brough
The Cost of Homelessness: Cape Town
Who are we?
DPV Outreach is an independent voluntary organisation established by residents of Devil’s Peak and Vredehoek. DPV Outreach has its roots in a pilot programme run by DPV Neighbourhood Watch and Khulisa Social Solutions Streetscapes Programme in Van Riebeeck Park from the end of April 2019 to end February 2020.
You can read more about the pilot programme here.
Meet Chantel, DPV Outreach’s new dedicated fieldworker!
Chantel started on 1 August 2021, and she hit the ground running! On her very first day of work, she stayed by the side of someone in need of emergency medical care for several hours. The person was finally taken to the hospital and was extremely grateful for the support that Chantel provided!
Chantel’s responsibilities will eventually include:
- Assisting with community mapping
- Welcoming and onboarding new clients
- Ensuring there are follow ups with existing clients
- Assisting with community awareness campaigns
- Disseminating basic information on legislation, policies and procedures in the social work field.
- Assisting with monitoring and reporting on clients’ progress
- Maintaining contact with other social service agencies, and health care providers involved with clients, to provide information and obtain feedback on clients’ overall situation and progress
With the support of DPV Outreach, next year Chantel will also study for her Auxiliary Social Work qualification.
Please say hello if you see Chantel around the neighbourhood. We are so excited to have her on the team and we can’t wait to grow together!
Our first project
As an organisation, DPV Outreach’s first project follows in the footsteps of the Van Riebeeck Park Pilot Project – our aim is to provide support to unhoused community members and information to all community members in the Devil’s Peak Vredehoek area. The support is provided by our fieldworker, Chantel, who works for DPV Outreach (DPVO) three days a week. She is supervised and mentored by our amazing partners from the Streetscapes Programme at Khulisa Social Solutions. DPVO is excited to be partnering with Streetscapes in this new initiative.
The other two days of the week, Chantel is part of the Streetscapes Outreach team and works with Sibusiso and Sicelo, whose mandate extends to the area around the Mill Street bridge and De Waal Park.
The Team started by walking the area to introduce themselves and the Outreach initiative to people who either live rough in our parks or on our streets, or who come into the area to look for work and to beg.
The next step was to develop an in-depth questionnaire for a confidential mini-census of the individuals who stay in the area and are willing to share their information. This evidence-based approach will give DPVO a good idea of where we, as a community, need to focus and how we can best link people with social services and rehabilitation programmes.
Progress to date
- The Streetscapes/DPVO Team – Chantel, Sibusiso, Sicelo and, more recently, Rudy – have introduced themselves to people living in the area. This includes people to whom housed residents requested that DPVO and Streetscapes reach out. The Team provides weekly reports to DPVO. So far, they have found 56 people experiencing homelessness in Devil’s Peak, Vredehoek, Mill Street Bridge and De Waal Park.
- The Team completed Digital Survey training with DPVO member Gianna. They learned how to use Kobo Collect to digitally capture responses to a survey of individuals sleeping on the streets, using their smartphones. The survey will begin in early October and will cover Devil’s Peak, Vredehoek, Mill Street Bridge and De Waal Park. The results will assist Streetscapes and DPVO to respond to the needs of the community.
- The Team have started bi-weekly computer training with DPVO member Natalie. This training covers basic computer use, creating documents in MS Word, capturing data in Excel and emailing reports and PDFs. Later training will cover Google Workspace tools like Google Drive (creating sheets and documents) and Google Calendar sharing. The training aims to empower the team to capture data electronically, create and share reports and improve efficiencies.
- Cascadia Behavioral Health, based in Oregon, USA, has partnered with Streetscapes. Cascadia run a certified 20-week Peer Specialist training programme. We are delighted that our team is now part of this programme, which will add to their skill-set.
The finer details are still being worked out prior to the contract between the City and Khulisa being signed but we are all very excited at the opportunity it affords Streetscapes as it will directly benefit people in DPV’s area. Streetscapes are already conducting interviews in anticipation of the launch of the programme.
How can you help?
If we reach this, we will also begin saving for Chantel’s Auxiliary Social Work course, Streetscapes’ supervision of the Outreach Team, and other outreach expenses.
Evidence shows that this approach to addressing homelessness is far more cost-effective than the securitised approach to evicting individuals that is taking place in surrounding neighbourhoods (Hopkins et al, 2020).
If you would like to donate, see the details below.