u-turn 25 birthday

A well-known Mitchells Plain organisation that assists homeless people has been forced to close its doors.

U-turn Homeless Ministries in Town Centre will cease to exist from Wednesday due to a lack of funding.

Communications officer Steve Underwood says the closure is a tragedy.

He said there are a number of issues that led to the closure.

“At the start of the year, there was a crunch with finances and it looked dire as early as February. We tried to raise some funds, but eventually we had to close down as the building wasn’t ideal also,” he explained.

“It is beyond that period and it isn’t just about the resources, it was also the size of the space and the lack of commendation. It was also the funding.”

The centre offers food, clothing and substance abuse rehabilitation, and caters for up to 30 mense every day but is not a night shelter.

U-turn CEO Jean-Ray Knighton-Fitt told the Daily Voice that the change in the City of Cape Town’s funding requirements also played a significant role in the drop-off in funding.

“In previous years we had received a substantial amount from the City. They are funding us but not on rehabilitative work, only on the number of beds,” Knighton-Fitt said.

“Most of the centres don’t have night time, we only got funding for our centre in Bellville.”

Manager Carmen Dickenson says: “Sadly, Mitchells Plain is closing, the need is so huge as we used to feed 20 to 30 people a day.”

Underwood hopes the centre will be able to reopen soon.

The City says: “This year, a total of R8 393 790 was made available for projects focusing on assistance to persons living on the street and those at risk of migrating.

“U-Turn is among the recipients – however, the City was unfortunately not able to disburse the full amount requested, as was the case with many of the recipients.

“The City is also calling on the public to NGOs helping homeless people.

“The City is furthermore investing R230 million to expand our City-run safe space shelters, and the care we offer there: from shelter, to job placement, to reuniting families.” – Byron Lukas

Originally published by the Daily Voice on 27 June 2023

Photo: Unplash/Zac Durant