For years, there have been homeless people on Fourth Street, with other issues, such as drug use and crime, causing distress among businesses and residents in the area. The Krugersdorp News has documented this issue since 2021, sharing the stories of those affected.
However, today, a drive through Fourth Street reveals a vastly different scene, thanks to the dedicated efforts of various stakeholders and determined ward councillors.
Ward councillor Mark Trump initiated efforts to address the situation in 2021, collaborating with residents and businesses suffering from customer losses and declining revenues. Disturbed by reports of discarded needles and the presence of such behaviour near Krugersdorp North Primary School, Trump took action.
His first step was establishing a medical box to dispose of used needles safely. Recognising that not all homeless individuals were drug users, Trump interviewed those living on the streets, arranging medical assistance and shelter where possible. Many had trauma histories, including child abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or gender-based violence.
Efforts to assist the homeless population were ongoing, involving the Community Policing Forum, police, disaster management, community safety, other councillors, and AfriForum. They initiated clean-up operations, maintaining compassion for individuals while removing items that posed infection risks.
Despite these efforts, homelessness persisted, leading to a clean-up campaign earlier this year. Most homeless individuals were relocated to shelters or safe places after multiple warnings and drug searches. The situation had reached a point where the community felt street dwellers had more rights than they did.
However, Trump emphasises that simply giving money or food to the homeless may not help them improve their lives. Instead, he urges residents to support shelters like Tower of Life and Grace House, which can provide structured assistance.
Those involved aim to develop a policy guiding local government to create safe, clean, open spaces and foster social cohesion between reputable NGOs, NPOs, and the community. Their goals include raising awareness about the impact of drug abuse and mental health issues on the homeless, establishing local facilities for street dwellers with access to social workers, nurses, and doctors, and monitoring addiction and health risks.
Fourth Street’s transformation from despair to renewed hope is a testament to the power of community collaboration and compassion.
Picture: Supplied by The Krugersdorp News
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