Sleeper Bags for our permanent homeless

The plight of Muizenberg’s long-term homeless is complex. Mainly due to trauma, addiction and untreated mental illnesses they have severed ties with their families and consider  Muizenberg their home. Nearly all have lived on our  streets for 10 years or longer. They reject the offer of shelters whose goal is to reunite them with their families and reintegrate them into their communities of origin, and where they have to comply with rules.

It is tough to be on the streets during the winter rains. Marion Wagner, Director of Social Development for the Muizenberg Improvement District found a company called Street Sleeper that manufactures winter survival bags. With the help of donations from Muizenberg residents and funds allocated from the MID Social Development budget, 11 homeless people were each given one of these hardy waterproof survival bags which rolls up into a handy carry bag as can be seen below when Muizenberg’s identified long-term homeless came to collect their bags and sign responsibility for them. Additional bags, more recently sponsored by the Muizenberg Methodist Church, will be handed out to those in need over the next few days.

homeless receive sleeper bags June 2015 - Low res Copy

L-R 1: Joseph Kritzinger received his survival bag from Marion Wagner, MID Director, Social Development. 2: Norman Hull and Jacobus Lings received their survival bags while Sishy Selenge, who supervises the homeless weekend cleaning programme, looks on. 3: Christine Lubbe collected both her bag and one for Hein Lubbe, saying with gratitude what a difference this will make for them during the cold wet winter nights.

sleeper bags

Oliver Brain, founder of Street Sleeper demonstrates how the Survival bag works.

The survival bag is longer and wider than a normal sleeping bag but weighs only 1.9kg. The ample space allows the user to sleep with multiple layers of clothes and they can also store valuables in the bag while using their backpacks as pillows. By gifting a bag for R150, you not only give one homeless person shelter from the cold, the impact is felt far wider. The production process creates employment, for homeless people as well as local businesses involved in the bag manufacturing.

New homeless person helped to get shelter and a job

Earlier in June, a woman who ended up on our streets due to a set of circumstances outside her control was spotted by a Muizenberg resident. He and his wife took her into their home for the night. The next morning he phoned the City’s dedicated call centre for homelessness, they arrived within an hour and the woman was taken to a shelter in Bellville where they assisted her in finding a job. Recently our Social Development Director has used the call centre to arrange for ambulances to take 2 homeless people needing medical attention to hospital; and for 2 other homeless people to be transferred to shelters.

The MID works in partnership with the City of Cape Town; provincial government structures; and NGOs like the Somerset West Night Shelter. If you see a homeless person in distress, please contact the City’s dedicated call centre for homelessness on 0800 872 201 so that assistance can be given.

Read more about MID’s programmes to address homelessness If you would like to contribute, there are various ways to do so – from street sleeper bags to laundry vouchers. Please contact Marion on or call on 081 425 0685

Issued by Lesley Schroeder, Stakeholder Engagement Director, MID


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and promote economic growth and sustainable development.

The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with crime and grime, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008. Website:

Enquiries: Chevone Petersen  Tel: 021 788 1196 Cell: 082 463 1525