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VRCID aims to help

The Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) aims to keep the Parow area clean and safe and to create a sustainable environment, despite the social problems plaguing the area.

On Thursday 29 November, members of the VRCID, members of churches in the Parow area and other role-players attended an information session to address the increase in the numbers of street people in Parow.

Wilma Piek, social development manager, said the reason why there’s a social department is because no business can flourish, and no environment can transform, if the area isn’t clean and safe.

“Because street people don’t have toilet facilities, food and a place to sleep, they aren’t dignified and often contribute to an area not always being clean,” she said.

Piek said it’s important for the VRCID to address the street people problem in Parow, but it’s problematic that people think handing out food to street people will solve the problem.

“This alone won’t solve the problem,” she said.

Piek said that yes, outreaches are important, but if there is no place for street people to go, this creates a problem.

The VRCID and churches within the Parow area said they would like to work with existing organisations that know what works and what does not for street people in Parow and which have a successful track record.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money and manpower to do this alone. There is a solution to the problem, but we need to stand together as a community,” said Piek.

Sam Vos, CEO of U-Turn Homeless Ministries, a Christian non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, told those in attendance about the services their centre offers.

The service centre, based in Claremont, offers social occupational services, a drug and alcohol rehab programme and food, and ultimately assists the homeless to move into the open employment market, but it does take time to get the people back on their feet.

Vos said they will be opening a secondhand clothing shop in Parow where community members can drop off clothing to be sold. He said the shop would hopefully open by the end of January 2019, in a building located near Parow Station Arcade. Ideally, the rest of this building could also be used as a service centre for the homeless, but the running costs would be high. “Life after homelessness is possible,” said Vos, but only if the community and businesses work together to create an effective partnership to benefit the area.

A follow-up meeting will be held early in January and anyone who is interested or would like to be involved can contact Wilma Piek on 083 294 3667 or send an email to Wilma.Piek@vrcid.co.za.

What is your opinion on this article? Let us know at briewe@tygerburger.co.za.

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