Gauteng government to put homeless people in boarding schools during national lockdown

Gauteng government to put homeless people in boarding schools during national lockdown.
Gauteng government to put homeless people in boarding schools during national lockdown.

The Gauteng provincial government has sent a team of negotiators out to persuade homeless people in various cities to be housed at boarding schools during a national lockdown.

Acting social development MEC Panyaza Lesufi said there were four vulnerable groups that had been identified by the provincial government for urgent help.

The first is homeless people.

The government has identified spots where homeless people are concentrated and had started approaching them. Lesufi said homeless people will be housed at boarding schools as there is currently no teaching and learning at these facilities. They will remain in these schools for a month.

“We’ve identified them as a group that needs to be sheltered for a period of a month. But also that needs to be fed. We will also the strengthen the support to NGOs that help them. In terms of support, we’re now relocating, unless the security cluster indicates otherwise, all willing homeless people into our schools.

“There is a team that has gone out to speak to them that it will be in their interest for them to be accommodated within our schools. As you know there is a lot of resistance sometimes from them,” Lesufi said.

At the boarding schools, homeless people will get clothing, food and shelter.

Specific areas in the four corridors of the province, in particular inner cities, have been identified and people will be asked to allow the government to relocate them.

The provincial government will also improve its 235 food distribution centres.

“We are revamping their capacity. They are moving from giving people a week’s supply to a month’s supply. This covers informal settlements, semi-rural areas or where we have identified children living alone,” Lesufi said.

The same distribution centres will also provide groceries for children who normally get two meals through the government feeding programme at school.

Dignity packs which contain a facecloth, toothpaste and toothbrush, roll-on, and pads will also be given to children with a mask, sanitisers and gloves.

The provincial government will also use 30,800 community development workers to distribute groceries to people who are sick and live in their homes. These workers conduct visits to the sick on a regular basis.

Soup kitchens will be augmented and people will get an additional afternoon meal.

The government has also set aside 24 shelters for women who might face abuse during the 21-day national lockdown.

“With people that are going to stay together for 21 days, possibilities of abuse and fights are high. We are opening 24 women shelters in case a woman wants to leave. When they are there, they will be given all the support,” Lesufi said.

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