Give Responsibly, and make a real difference by giving a hand up and not a hand out.

One frequently reads messages from the City and various NGO’s about not giving money or goods directly to homeless or street people/children. But this approach can be hard to understand when confronted with an individual’s obvious need, and when the alternatives are vague or unknown.

This social issue is much more complex than it looks at first glance. For example, not all people on the street are homeless – informal car guards, opportunistic criminals and drug dealers move among the homeless and unless you have spent time working with them you won’t necessarily know who is who. Furthermore, giving to street children makes them more vulnerable to exploitation and substance abuse.

Giving money or food may provide relief for a few hours or days, but it does not encourage taking responsibility, or provide the complex resources needed to find a good long-term solution. Some of these stories from Muizenberg (*not their real names) provide insight into what it takes to really help:

  • George* and his wife were assisted in relocating to Cradock to be reunited with his biological father after being on the street for 3 months and living in an abandoned building on the Main Road.
  • Peter* was helped to find accommodation and part-time employment in Southfield. He was sleeping on the streets of Muizenberg. MID is now helping him to get his ID so that he can go onto the City’s Job Seeker Registration Database.
  • Adam* has been living on the streets for some time but because of his disability it has become increasingly difficult for him. At first he was resistant to alternatives, but after 6 weeks of engagement with the MID fieldworkers he has agreed that a change is necessary. MID is tracing his family and investigating the possibility of a home for this disabled for him.

To provide this kind of assistance requires experience, training, connections, and a lot of time and funding.

Rather than giving someone a quick R5 outside the café or passing your leftovers through the garden gate, consider these really good alternatives:

  • Donate money or time to MID to assist the social development team to continue a) giving practical help to those who need it and b) working with relevant departments and authorities to assist with this growing challenge. Contact, Bank details: Muizenberg Improvement District, First National Bank, Current Account, Tokai Branch 6202 1627 875
  • Purchase a Dignity Voucher from Friends of Muizenberg Park – each R50 voucher employs one homeless person for a morning and helps upgrade the park.
    Contact, Bank details: Friends of Muizenberg Park, Nedbank Current Account 1089387288 #dignity
  • Refer homeless people and street people/children to the MID Social Support Clinic which runs each Tuesday from 09h00 – 13h00 at the Clinic Building in Atlantic Road, or contact

Kevin Rack is the MID Directors for Social Development. If you would like to be involved, or have an idea you’d like to run past the team feel free to mail