Help and hope for homeless

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Police in Durban's Point Road area, in conjunction with the National Prosecuting Authority, Metro police and the community have found an innovative way to reduce crimes committed by the city's homeless.

This after the team embarked on Project Hope to fight crime and restore dignity to the homeless.

The programme equips candidates with skills that enable them to search for employment in the formal job market.

As part of the programme, SAPS and Metro police were tasked to round up the homeless and take them to Point community court.

Police also screened them to ensure that they had no pending cases in other parts of the country.

Senior public prosecutor Valerie Melis, one of the initiators of the project, said it was established to fight crime.

She said it was also set up as a strategy to help the homeless gain self-respect and dignity.

"The project was started with 48 vagrants aged between 18 and 47. Some of them stopped coming and we were left with only 11 of them who completed the programme.

Melis said the project had helped to place the candidates in jobs in the hotel industry.

"We are still faced with a huge challenge of sourcing funds to help more people on the street," she said.

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