There’s a sigh of relief for the civil society organisations, as the council approved bridging funds for the Presidential Employment Programme (PEP) project. The initiative addresses homelessness and addiction support in Cape Town – a project that’s immensely impactful as an employment generator.
Last week, the City through the Economic Growth Directorate stepped in to provide bridging funding so that the project can continue for two more months. There were concerns about the PEP project which arose last month when civil society organisations started a petition pleading for the City not to stop the project. Meanwhile, following the council’s approval, the project will continue for another two months.
Since January 2022, this collective effort has facilitated the NPO partners to provide over 532 (426 workers and 106 supervisors) rehabilitative work opportunities for homeless individuals combined with psychosocial support, housing support and active referrals to other services. Through this project, many people have been assisted to leave the streets through permanent employment.
According to Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, this is another way that the City is using its resources to make the unemployment queue shorter. Not only does the PEP project create jobs but it changes lives in the process too.
There’s no doubt that assisting the homeless on all levels is a priority for the City and with the additional funding, they are able to restore some dignity to the lives of those living on the street. Petition Author, Sarah Driver-Jowitt said the project had been eminent in tackling the core reasons the homeless ended up living on the streets. She said the programme had already helped 90% of the beneficiaries to stay off the streets when it ended.
In addition, the City said a new request was also submitted to National Treasury to source funding for the continuation of this project from September 1 to June 2024, as per the Cape Argus.
Furthermore, going forward, the Economic Growth Directorate, led by the Enterprise and Investment Department is also exploring other options in which they could use all their programmes, such as the Jobs Connect Programme, to register the workers onto the database to assist the beneficiaries to get permanent work opportunities.
The Presidential Employment Programme (PEP) project has thus far been a success, therefore the City’s approval of relief funds will give the initiative the much-needed boost to continue providing addiction support and generating employment in the Mother City.
Picture: SAPS / Facebook