DSD prepared for winter ahead
After the recent heavy rains experienced, and cold weather setting in, the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez says that the Department has been working tirelessly to ensure that winter readiness programmes are operational in each region across the province.
Our major preparations involve shelters for homeless adults, social work services aimed at family reunification, and social relief of distress for citizens in emergency situations who are in desperate need of support.
Harsh winter conditions deepen the social vulnerability of people located in either informal settlements or remote rural locations. The Department funds 27 shelters for homeless adults across the province, with a total of just under 1 500 bed spaces. Furthermore, 700 homeless adults were reunified with their families in the last year. These repaired relationships and strengthened family bonds has contributed towards these 700 individuals being less vulnerable.
The Department works closely with government departments and municipalities to ensure there is appropriate response to disaster situations. A Social Development team responds to incidents such as flooding or fires by providing core services, like trauma counselling where needed, and other psychosocial support to victims. The team further facilitates access to humanitarian relief where it is needed in communities. It may also identify vulnerable groups – such as the elderly or people with special needs, and ensures they receive the necessary assistance and support.
“We believe that the onset of winter should not mean that the destitute must suffer from the cold, harsh weather,” says Minister Sharna Fernandez. “Our efforts as government are also effective when we work in partnership with NGOs and communities.”
The public is encouraged to get involved through volunteering or donating to registered NGOs operating in the province. Information on registered NGOs can be obtained by visiting any of our regional and local offices, or by contacting our DSD hotline 0800 220 250.