Under the auspices of the Worship Forum, the PNRA has put an integrate plan together to address the high level of vagrancy, or displaced persons, in Parktown North.
Compassion compelled the PNRA to intervene in a manner that aims to restore the dignity of the people, and to give them a renewed sense of purpose.
The solution lay in harnessing:
The training programmes offered by His People's Church,
The soup kitchen, bathing facilities and training programmes run by the Parktown North Methodist Church, and
The food and accommodation programme provided by the Rosebank Catholic Church Immaculata Shelter.
The PNRA continually reaches out to the displaced pesons in Parktown North in an effort to get them to commit to training programmes. In exchange for committed attendance of training programmes, His People's Church subsidises accommodation at the Rosebank Catholic Shelter. Our aim is to give people who have hit on hard times, a helping hand - and a . FRESH START ..
In some cases, our efforts have proved fruitful with a few people taking advantage of the outreach programme. Mostly, however, our efforts have failed as people have shunned offers of help, preferring instead, to beg and sleep out on our streets.
The PNRA has spent time with the Displaced Persons Unit (DPU) and other agencies of the City of Johannesburg, trying to find a compassionate solution to the problem, and we have heeded the City's call for assistance.
In short, the PNRA has been tasked with reaching out to our community with one simple message:
DO NOT GIVE HAND-OUTS, MONEY OR OTHERWISE, DIRECTLY TO DISPLACED PERSONS.
The authorities ask that instead of giving hand-outs, as a caring, compassionate and giving community, we support the formal shelters that offer people access to a safe place to sleep at night, nutrition, medical attention, skills development, rehabilitative services and re-integration programmes.
The DPU unfortunately does not accept cash assistance, but prefers donations
of blankets, clothing and single mattresses. The PTN Methodist Church has
agreed to provide a central collection point for these goods which the DPU will
then collect on a regular basis. When dropping off donations, please mark the
items clearly as a DPU DONATION.
The DPU has highlighted that there is a distinct difference between someone who has fallen on bad times and is trying to better themselves, and someone who has chosen to live on the streets, scaring up some money because it's easy to intimidate the community, and engaging in anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately, approximately 85% of displaced persons in Parktown North are part of the latter group.
The DPU has warned that continued handouts by the community of cash, food or clothing serve only to feed destructive self-medication through drugs and alcohol addiction, a perpetuation of street-living, and aggressive, threatening panhandling, or begging.
Help to restore dignity through thoughtful assistance that doesn't perpetuate destructive behaviour such as alcoholism and drug addiction!