Celebrating its new name during its recent annual general meeting (AGM), The Hope Exchange (formerly The Carpenter’s Shop) reinvigorates its purpose to help Cape Town’s destitute and homeless people.

Most South Africans have the security of a roof over their head. But thousands of homeless people have to make their homes on the street every day. It’s easy to dismiss their plight as their own doing, but circumstance is most often to blame. The Hope Exchange wants to change this reality and is doing so through the help of programmes.

“At the Hope Exchange, we offer many different opportunities and modes of support,” said Peter Solomon, Director of The Hope Exchange. “We don’t just hand out food and items, even though those are very necessary for people to enjoy basic dignity. Homelessness is a complex phenomenon, inextricably tied to poverty and a combination of social and socio-economic factors that coexist and influence each other in a seemingly never-ending cycle.

“There is no single solution and that is why we provide a comprehensive and integrated system of social care services that facilitates human development and improves the lives of those who are homeless and living on the street. We aim to address the issue holistically.”

The Hope Exchange’s purpose is to engage with people, get to know them and help them improve their circumstances, Ian Veary, Social Work Manager of The Hope Exchange added:

“It is not our aim to support people who live on the street, but rather provide the chance to restore dignity and opportunities for change.”

Established in 1981, The Hope Exchange has been bringing hope, support, understanding and dignity to Cape Town’s homeless people. This NGO and its partners provide many services to the city’s most vulnerable. Services are designed around wellness, reintegration into mainstream society or reunification with families, and including daily ablutions, toilet and laundry facilities, nutritional meals, social work services, a monthly healthcare wellness and screening clinic, life skills training, access to vocational skills training and short term second phase accommodation.

Changing its name from The Carpenter’s Shop to The Hope Exchange, the new name underscores its vision – to bring hope for the homeless, through dignity and opportunities for change – and its values: to treat all people with respect, understanding and fairness, to serve all people regardless of race, religion or worldview, and to uphold the principles set out in its constitution.

The AGM was also an opportunity to pay tribute to NGO’s founder and patron, Geoff Burton, who stepped down as chairman earlier this year. After the formal proceedings of the AGM, guests participated in providing a special food service to The Hope Exchange’s clients and experienced first-hand a small portion of what the NGO and its partners are doing to make Cape Town a better city for all its people.

“It’s always important to put a face to homelessness. It’s the acknowledgement that we are all human that is most important” said Geoff Burton, founder and patron.

To learn more about The Hope Exchange and how it is helping change South Africa for the better, visit https://thehopeexchange.org/

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.