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Obs Journey Update: Aug. 2022

Dear Obs Journey friends,

I want to share with you the most important points from our Obs Journey meeting on 6 August 2022.

This meeting was to provide an update on developments related to the Obs Journey, and gain inputs from attendees on their concerns and suggestions for improving our neighbourhood. There were 26 community members at the meeting representing both housed and non-housed community members.

We are especially excited about starting a conversation with U-Turn about the possibility of opening one of their service centres in Obs. U-Turn is a non-profit with 25 years of experience working with Cape Town’s unhoused population to get them off the streets and on a path to recovery.

Please see below for more details about this U-Turn dialogue and summaries of everything else we discussed. For more detailed meeting notes, please visit this link.

Kind regards,
Carolyn Neville
Community Concerns and Suggested Solutions
We spent the second part of the meeting focused on community concerns and suggested solutions. Below is a list of common concerns and solutions that meeting attendees recorded in an individual exercise. To see the full list of concerns and solutions, please visit this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.

• Safety for persons and property was the top concern of both the formally and informally housed.
• The number of individuals sleeping on the streets, as well as their poor quality of life and inadequate long-term solutions (to recovery and housing).
• The loss of public spaces, dirtiness and degradation of infrastructure.

• A Service Centre supporting street-based individuals with rehabilitation, skills development and employment.
• A community garden project.
• Encouraging responsible giving.
• Improving communication and coordination amongst those working with and living in street-based communities.
• Tackling criminal activities/elements in the community.
Obs Journey’s Bid for an Independent Facilitator
The proposal submitted by Derek Ronnie and Ghalib Galant to the OBSID board for funding was not successful. The OBSID Board felt the outcomes were too vague to justify the costs, and that such a project required on going support which OBSID would be unable to provide.
Rehoming of Obz Rainbow House Residents
As we reported in our last update, the Rainbow House closed at the end of July. The future for 14 of the residents is not clear. Development Action Group (DAG) is mediating between the landlord and the residents. The six residents who are in the OBSID work programme have been rehoused in Salt River. They require the following assistance:Kitchen table and chairs (6-8)Bedside tables / small tablesSmall cupboards or lockers4-plate hotplate or stoveColander / strainerLarge potsSingle size bedding – sheets, duvets, duvet coversPillow casesTowelsIf you are able to donate or finance any items, please call OBSID at 021-448-7090.
OBSID’s Audit of People Sleeping Rough in Obs
CEO Amanda Kirk said OBSID would conduct an audit of how many people sleep rough (i.e. not in a dwelling) on the streets of Observatory in order to offer them a Sheltersuit, an innovative sleeping cover designed in Holland and produced locally. Obs Pasta Kitchen received a donation of these suits. OBSID recently completed its audit and, along with Obs Pasta Kitchen, shared 17 Sheltersuits with Obs street-based residents. For more about OBSID’s work see the OBSID website. To learn more about Obs Pasta Kitchen’s work, see this poster about bringing the Obs Village Green back to the community.
Obs CAN and Other Free Meals in the Community
Obs CAN (Community Action Network) provides breakfast and a packed lunch every Saturday and Sunday morning on the Village Green. There are also other free meal services available for Observatory’s street-based residents. If you know anyone who needs a meal, please direct them to these places and services:Monday – Friday, 09:00 and 12 noon – Breakfast and lunch from Youth Solutions Africa at 9 Shelley RoadWednesday, 17:00 – Dinner from Obs Pasta Kichen on the Village GreenThursday, 16:00 – Dinner from Beth Uriel on the Village GreenSaturday – Sunday, 09:00 – Breakfast and lunch packs from Obs CAN on the Village GreenAnyone who would like to volunteer can WhatsApp Kiki on 084-771-0485. A list of NPOs working with non-housed residents is also available here.
One-on-One Dialogues Led by A Stranger Kind
The Obs Journey Advisory Group has spoken with A Stranger Kind (ASK) about hosting an event in Obs and then training Obs-based volunteers to host future events. We feel this could be a good way of improving trust and communication in Obs, one of the aims of the Obs Journey.A Stranger Kind is an initiative aimed at encouraging unlikely dialogues between unlikely people. ASK trains volunteers to speak with strangers about a topic that is important to them, then hosts events where people from the general public can have one-on-one conversations with volunteers and ask questions they might not have the opportunity (or courage) to ask.
Connecting With U-Turn About a Possible Service Centre in Obs
Janine Titley talked with U-Turn about the possibility of opening a Service Centre in Observatory if a suitable location can be found. U-Turn has worked with street-based individuals in Cape Town for over 25 years. The non-profit has a four-phase programme designed to help unhoused people walk the path of recovery and get off the streets. We are meeting again with U-Turn on 19 August and will report back then on developments, including what constitutes a suitable location.
Obs Journey’s Next Steps

Meeting with U-Turn
Carolyn Neville (Obs Journey), Kimon Bisogno (Obs Pasta Kitchen), Janine Titley (Obs Journey) and Amanda Kirk (OBSID) will meet with U-Turn on 19 August to explore the possibility of a partnership to start a Service Centre in Observatory. We will report back to everyone after this meeting.

Next Community Meeting
Our next community meeting date will be communicated soon.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to get more involved with the Obs Journey, kindly email [email protected] or [email protected].

This is The Obs Journey – until the next time!

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