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Please support Homeless Action Week in order to raise awareness of homelessness

Carlos Mesquita writes that the purpose is to raise public awareness on issues of homelessness and rally local solutions. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Carlos Mesquita writes that the purpose is to raise public awareness on issues of homelessness and rally local solutions. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Published Sep 8, 2021


October 10 is is World Homeless Day and I’m on a mission for us to have a Homeless Action Week in Cape Town this year.

With the ongoing debate on homelessness, I want to initiate a week of action that would involve all role players and culminate in World Homeless Day. The idea is to market the week as the Homeless Action Week and we would welcome the involvement of everyone in the city, as it’s an issue that affects us all.

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The purpose is to raise public awareness on issues of homelessness and rally local solutions. Homelessness Action Week is being initiated by The Homeless Hub – Cape Town, but offered to Cape Town for all to own.

We are appealing for the involvement of all homeless people, the organisations that work with the homeless, the public, the business community, community organisations and all levels of government, schools, churches, the press and the media as well as the legal fraternity

The motivation for launching this week is to:

● Help residents who are homeless

● Create awareness of homelessness.

● Engage citizens on solutions to homelessness.

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● Decrease the stigma associated with homelessness and the exclusion experienced by Capetonians experiencing homelessness.

● Get all role players to schedule their ground-breaking initiatives in this sector around these dates for maximum exposure and involvement.

● To have a virtual mass meeting where we can all look at the situation together and contemplate a way forward.

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Homeless Action Week will focus on bringing public awareness and understanding to the issue of homelessness in the Greater Cape Town region. It’s an opportunity to get involved in activities in your community. What should or could be done during this week?

There’s already an international day for the homeless, but given the extent of this phenomenon and the challenges being faced in this regard by both the homeless and their homed neighbours in Cape Town right now, and the fact that most of these challenges are caused due to a lack of information or the incorrect interpretation of the information that is available, I feel that it’s imperative to dedicate a week rather than a day, which will be devoted by all to focusing our attention on an issue or group of people in need.

Homeless Action Week is a gift to the homeless sector and everyone in it to use in any way they feel it could impact positively on the situation.

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Cape Town Homeless Action Week is the perfect opportunity to contact a local school, church or service provider. Contact them, offer guest speaking opportunities, and suggest partnering to raise money. Politicians can be encouraged to release new funds or proposals during this week or to acknowledge the good work already being done by people and organisations in their city or province.

It should be noted that to date, current and formerly homeless people have done more than anyone else housed or working in the sector to promote World Homeless Action Day.

If you are a service provider and attend meetings with other service providers, put discussion of Homeless Action Week – Cape Town on the agenda.

If you need support in planning the day or want to collaborate with others involved, leave a comment, mail us or join us on our Facebook group or WhatsApp group (these will be up on September 10).

Homelessness does not describe a type of person, but a housing situation. It’s a state – not a trait.

Please support Homeless Action Week – Cape Town 2021.

* Carlos Mesquita and a handful of others formed HAC (the Homeless Action Committee) that lobbies for the rights of the homeless. He also manages Our House in Oranjezicht, which is powered by the Community Chest. He can be reached at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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City of Cape Town