“The Mossel Bay Municipality has now received PetroSA’s contribution of R3 million towards the cost of converting the old Rose and Crown building in the central business district to a centre for the homeless after the underhanded efforts by amongst others the now dismissed ward councillor to convince the company to withdraw its support, were unsuccessful.
“We can now proceed with the establishment of the centre to address the problem of homelessness in a meaningful and constructive way,” said the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira, according to a news release issued by the Municipality.
“It is really a pity that the project was delayed through the efforts by amongst others the former ward councillor to convince PetroSA not to pay over the money even though his own caucus in Council voted in favour of the project,” she said.
The Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz, must get much of the credit for the project as she grabbed the bull by the horns to address a real problem. She acted immediately upon requests from the community to establish such a facility and it is mainly through her sustain efforts to find suitable premises and funding that the project can now proceed,“ said Alderlady Ferreira.
Alderlady Ferreira also had praise for the persistence and contribution of the local Haven Committee under the chairmanship of the Rev Robert Knobel towards the eventual realisation of the project. The Haven Organisation has been active in Mossel Bay for a number of years and Mr and Mrs Richard Ambler-Smith did sterling work in this regard.
She said the utilisation of the building up to now resulted in certain social problems in the central business district and even the SA Police Service approached the Municipality to do something about it. The utilisation of the building as a centre for the homeless, which means that there will be supervision 24 hours a day and that it will be operated according to strict rules, will be of great importance in this regard.
The project is financed jointly by PetroSA, The Haven Organisation and the Municipality. The building will be let to The Haven which also contributed R1 million to the purchase price.
The Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisation was founded in Cape Town in 1978 to provide temporary shelter, physical care and social welfare and family reunification services to adult homeless people.
The organisation also involves homeless people in meaningful projects and train them for job creation projects. At one of the fourteen similar centres that the organisation operates in the Western Cape, in inter alia Paarl, George and Malmesbury, 45 sustainable jobs were created for homeless people.
The organisation has also achieved many successes with the reunification of homeless people with their families. Some homeless people from Mossel Bay have also been reunited with their families in other parts of the country.