Addiction, an invisible noose that some of our clients live with every day. Slacking the noose is no easy feat when your drug of choice, in a sense, enables surviving the harsh and unsafe conditions of street life. If you think adequate shelter is a challenge for a homeless person, then image what it must be like when you reach a point of defeat – and admit to being an addict in need of rehabilitation.
Leon* is one such brave client. A heroin addict for 15 years, he knocked on The Humanity Hub’s door and asked for help. “I want to clean myself up . . .”. Words not easily spoken. Forlorn, with a heaviness palpable to our fieldworker as she listened to his story and started the process of helping Leon access the necessary support services.
He’s been part of Souper Troopers since its inception, and we have been witness to Leon’s troubled journey on the streets. The birth of his daughter six month ago was the catalyst to him taking this significant step towards changing his life around.
Coming from a community where gangsterism and addiction is rife, and in consultation with his father, it was agreed that home would not be the best place to start the process of rehabilitation. Thus, the challenge of suitable accommodation within the transport assistance zone of the rehabilitation centre, Sultan Bahu, based in Mitchell’s Plain.
Our fieldworker’s tenacity and network relationships ensured a favourable outcome for Leon in that placement was found at a shelter in Bellville, where he has access to mentorship support throughout his recovery programme.
Leon now participates in the rehabilitation programme from 8am to 4pm, and upon successful completion, he has a home to return to, thanks to the support of his father who is supporting him on this journey of sobriety.
*not his real name