Nina is a victim of an abusive relationship and has been running from her husband for the past three years in order to keep herself and her son alive. Wherever she goes, he seems to find her and she has to set off, on the run again.
About a month ago she found herself in Cape Town. Desperate to find a way to provide for and look after her young son, she went to SAPS Central Station to ask about possible job opportunities. When SAPS couldn’t help, Captain Annat intervened and approached Marc Truss, CEO of the Green Point and Oranje-Kloof City Improvement Districts (GP/OKCID) in the hope of some relief.
After meeting with Nina and her son, Marc Truss approached La Rochelle Muller, a field worker employed by The City of Cape Town. La Rochelle works out of the GPCID offices based at St Andrew’s Square, and works closely with various City Improvements Districts; and is able to organize social interventions for the homeless.
However, La Rochelle does not have access to finances to support these very unfortunate individuals. Marc Truss agreed to use GP/OKCID funds to help Nina financially and together they were able to provide safe, suitable accommodation and pay for a crèche for her son. Nina was also then offered a job as a cleaner at Prestwich Memorial/ Truth Coffee Roastery in Green Point. As transport was an issue, The GP/OKCID also provided support for Nina to get to and from work everyday on the MyCiTi bus. This is only a temporary arrangement, and as soon as Nina becomes financially able to look after herself and her son, the GP/OKCID will slowly step back.
“Prestwich Memorial has never been as clean as it is now, and it is great to see how Nina takes pride in her job. She wrote me a beautiful letter to thank me for the opportunity we have been able to provide,” says Marc Truss.
The City Improvement Districts are solely funded by property owners in their respective areas and therefore do not have huge resources to fund every cause; however they do recognise those desperately in need and are willing to assist where they can, whether it is financial or the efficient use of resources and / or through the intervention of field workers.
La Rochelle say her biggest challenge everyday is finding available space in shelters; “they are always full and we do not have enough in the Western Cape”. Apart from finding temporary accommodation, the field workers can help to relocate homeless people to their families should they wish to return, they also help with medical needs and identifying possible employment opportunities, besides facilitating the issuing of ID cards/ Drivers Licences, financed by the GP/OKCID.
“We are in contact with the hospitals, cleaning companies, security companies etc. and we do generally know where there are job opportunities,” says La Rochelle Muller.
A call out to the community: if you do come across anyone that needs a job, that is being abused or who has drug problems and therefore can’t work, get in contact with a field worker. Field workers such as La Rochelle and her colleagues, with the support of GP/OKCID, are the silver lining around a very dark cloud for many people who would otherwise be destitute.