BLUE BAGS OF SECURITY FOR THE HOMELESS
By: Bongani Gema
One hundred blue bags were distributed to Durban’s homeless people by the Denis Hurley Centre to keep their cherished belongings.
The centre director Raymond Perrier, who was speaking at the handover of the bags on Friday, said it was important that when people saw these bags, they knew what they were about.
“It’s a bag that will not be destroyed or confiscated. It’s a bag that (homeless) people can use to keep their valued possessions in,” he said.
Inside the bags were blankets and other cosmetics. The people also had a choice of either a Bible or Qur’an inside the bag.
MaryAnn Carpenter, a clinical coordinator at the centre, said that the idea to distribute the bags came from a series of dialogues they held with the police and the homeless people.
“Out of the dialogues was born the idea of forming a homeless people’s committee and also how do we help people on the streets keep their treatments, blankets and appointment cards for clinics.”
She said a colleague of hers came up with idea of bags which are clearly identifiable and the police will know “not to take”.
SAPS Major General Kabelo Mekute said the police were prepared to work with the homeless.
“Less than 30% of the homeless are involved in crime and the other 70% are prepared to work for change. We will support them,” she stated.
The police have agreed that while the bags can be searched they would not be confiscated.
Lulama Kuselo, of the homeless committee, was overcome with emotion when he thanked everyone involved.
“I strongly believe that you are lending a hand to God,” he said.
He also pledged that those who receive the bags would not store any illegal or stolen goods inside them.