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Obs Journey update: Feb. 2022

  1. It was agreed that a call for proposals from independent facilitators would be made. The purpose of the independent facilitator was to ensure that all the different opinion groupings in Obs would have a chance to talk about the challenges faced by both the street based communities and housed residents in Observatory. It was agreed that people need to be able to “speak their mind” but also that common areas of concern would result from these conversations. For example, both street based and residential community members are concerned about safety. Having identified areas of common concern, this would then lead to some creative solutions to these concerns.
  2. DAG, CwC and the Trauma Centre submitted their proposals. It was felt that none of these proposals “hit the mark”.
  3. Subsequently, a few other potential providers have been identified – it is still to be decided whether a further call should be made in order to find the right organisation to assist in the Obs Journey.
  4. In the meantime, there has been a great deal of debate on this group around the challenges faced, and some solutions have been suggested. Jumping to solutions before the whole problem has been fully articulated may be a problem which is why an independent facilitator was discussed – someone/organisation that could listen carefully to all the issues, and guide the process of discussions around solutions or ways forward.
  5. Processes always take time – this is frustrating for all parties. The street based community want solutions to their problems, and of course local residents want to see some resolution to their concerns as well.
  6. There are three significant groups in Observatory that are working with street based communities – providing accommodation, meals, psycho-social support, work based programmes etc… These organisations have begun to identify leaders within the street based community – this will make discussions much easier in future.
  7. It is apparent that housed residents are not always fully aware of what work is being done with regards the street based community, and so the intention is to post information about what the different organisations are doing, how they operate and how they see the way forward.
  8. It is also apparent that having Facebook conversations about such important issues such as the growing number of structures on the Village, the general untidiness, the lack of access to water by street based communities, the aggressive begging that is becoming more intense, the two recent murders of people living on the street, evidence of gangsterism and criminal elements infiltrating long time street based community members etc…. is not totally productive. The Obs Journey would like to encourage all Observatory residents – both housed residents who pay taxes and, therefore, expect a clean, safe environment in return as well as those who are unfortunate to find themselves living on the street – to join in the conversation. Another meeting is going to be convened on Tuesday 15th Feb (venue to be announced). Please come and join in the conversation – be part of the solution.
  9. As a community, we cannot delegate responsibility for solving these challenges (challenges that are also being faced by every suburb in every major city in the country) to OBSID, to the authorities, to NGO’s alone – we all need to work together and come up with practical, sustainable solutions that will have a positive impact in our community. We all have a ‘right’ to a clean, ordered and safe environment – and we all have responsibilities to ensure that this happens for everyone.
  10. Please follow the conversation – make comments on Facebook if you wish, but most importantly come along to the meetings to join in the conversation and the journey. We will listen to each other, we will respect each other, we will work together so that we can make Obs the great community we all wish it to be!