By Mensch Network Member, Kerry Hoffman, Founder of Souper Troopers and The Humanity Hub
Mensch thought-leader of the month
We believe that everybody deserves a new beginning and are proud to offer our clients a space in which to find theirs.
As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are thrilled to introduce our new project, The Humanity Hub, which facilitates new beginnings for our homeless clients. The Humanity Hub, situated on the ground floor of the Community Chest building in the CBD, was launched earlier this year by Souper Troopers in collaboration with Mini Meltdown, Ladles of Love, and Community Chest.
We offer a full range of services aimed at helping people living on the streets to improve their lives and, where possible, find permanent accommodation. Using our C.A.S.T model (Connect, Assess, Support, Transform), our compassionate fieldwork team works with each person individually, to provide these services with dignity, love and respect.
The CONNECT stage is the foundation of our work during which our team establishes a relationship of trust with the client. Often this requires a series of interactions as most of our clients have experienced deep trauma and have been disappointed so many times before.
Once the client trusts our team, the work moves to the ASSESS stage. Our team takes an in-depth history of the client’s life, which includes their family situation, level of study, work experience, reasons for being on the streets, skills and talents, medical history, mental health, and other obstacles standing in their way. Most important is for the client to express their hopes and dreams for how they would like their life to evolve.
The fieldworker and client then work out a series of steps the client can take with our SUPPORT. Sometimes, this requires our fieldworker to mediate between the client and their family to see if reconciliation is possible and whether the home is a safe space. We then arrange and pay for the client’s transport (to another province or country), prepare them for the journey and send them off with groceries and other basics.
Often the client needs an ID card before they can take other steps and we help them get their documentation in order. We can sometimes connect the client with a work opportunity or support them as they learn a new skill, to increase their opportunities. Many clients need trauma counselling or addiction support, and we work within a network of service providers, always keeping in touch with the client and walking the long and often painful journey with them.
Each journey is unique and, even once they feel their life has TRANSFORMED, our fieldwork team remains in touch because transformation is an ongoing process of rebuilding a life.
Tanya* left her home in Zimbabwe to find work in Cape Town to support her son. She did not know that she would soon start losing her sight. She found herself on the streets — and despite three surgeries, her sight continued to deteriorate, making her very vulnerable. She was harassed and threatened. She reached out to our fieldworker at The Humanity Hub who found placement for her in a shelter, while we attended to all the logistical arrangements for her return to Zimbabwe. Thanks to our generous and compassionate community, Tanya is now home with her son and mother, grateful that she can see her son before she goes completely blind. (*Not her real name)
We believe that everybody deserves a new beginning and are proud to offer our clients a space in which to find theirs. We are always looking for toiletries, and good quality clothing and shoes. Please be in touch with us if you would like to visit The Humanity Hub or support us in any other way.
We are all human. We all have a story. Together we are the change.
• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Get the PDF here.
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