GAUTENG LAUNCHES MOBILE SHOWERS FOR THE HOMELESS

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MEC Mbali Hlophe cutting a ribbon during the unveiling of mobile showers at Wembley Shelter for the Homeless

By Busi Kheswa

  • The Gauteng Provincial Government, under the leadership of MEC Mbali Hlophe, introduced mobile shower services at Wembley Stadium in Turffontein, aiming to restore dignity to the homeless population.
  • These mobile showers expand the existing support package for the homeless, including shelters, meals, social work services, skills development, and substance abuse rehabilitation, aligning with Pillar 1 of the Gauteng City Region Strategy on Street Adult Homelessness.
  • The mobile service, equipped with separate showers, ablution facilities, and an office, will reach homeless hotspots in parks, open areas, and streets, offering access to essential services and linking beneficiaries with skills development and job opportunities.

In the quest to restore dignity for the homeless, the Gauteng Provincial Government, led by MEC For Social Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Mbali Hlophe, unveiled mobile shower services at Wembley Stadium in Turffontein. Scores of homeless individuals gathered in large numbers to access the services on offer from various government departments and social partners.

The launch of the mobile showers is an expansion to the already existing package of assistance to the homeless, which includes, homeless shelters in regions, provision of daily meals for the homeless, social work services, link to skills development, substance abuse rehabilitation, family reunification and many more. The mobile service is in line with Pillar 1 of the Gauteng City Region Strategy on Street Adult Homelessness, which is advocacy, awareness, prevention of crisis and early Intervention.

The service, which will go out to designated locations daily, will provide access to bathrooms, ablution facilities, and laundry services. This will also link the homeless with other services such as access to shelters and social work interventions. The mobile services have separate showers, ablution facilities and an office. The wash trailer has 3 showers and 3 toilets which are 6m long, with an estimated weight of 2800 kilograms and the estimated office weight is 1800 kg.

The wash trailer and office will be towed by a vehicle to the identified homeless hotspots. The proposed locations for the service are parks, open areas, under bridges, and on streets where homeless individuals tend to reside. During the launch, beneficiaries were linked with skills development and employment opportunities through the Department of Labour.

“The mobile showers will enable the Department to reach the homeless for services in identified hotspots. Some homeless individuals who want to access our service do not know where to go, through these mobile services they will be able to access the government and also allow the government to collect data, to respond adequately to their needs. Skills development and job placement are part of what we are encouraging,” said MEC Mbali Hlophe.

Speaking at the launch, Michael Rasebokoa (25), who resides in Wembley Stadium Homeless Shelter in Turffontein said he has acquired computer skills and job placement in the shelter. Rasebokoa, who is from Free State, holds a Business Administration qualification and has worked as a waiter in a restaurant.

Unfortunately, his job ended and he found himself homeless. It was through a referral from one of the NPOs that he found himself in this shelter. “I am grateful for the opportunities that the Gauteng Department of Social Development has afforded me. The NPOs that are funded by the Department have made it possible for me to secure a job. I am currently working as a Financial Advisor in Discovery Financial Services in Sandton.”

Picture taken by Thomas Chauke

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