‘It’s ice cold’

Homeless people in Boksburg are calling good Samaritans to help them with warm clothing to protect themselves from the biting cold.

With the winter setting in, homeless people in Boksburg North are appealing for your help to keep the cold weather at bay.

The predicted extreme cold weather in many parts of the country for this winter makes the season an even more frightening prospect for the city’s homeless.
Homeless people are seen sleeping on the pavements outside some establishments on many streets between Cason and Paul Smith roads in Boksburg North.

Last night (June 11), the Boksburg Advertiser visited Boksburg North to speak to some of the people who sleep outside and find out what life is really like for them.
Those interviewed described sleeping outside during winter as the hardest part for them. They are reminded that sleeping outside can be life-threatening.

They are calling on fellow citizens, including NGOs, businesses and individuals, to help them with much-needed items to protect themselves.
Sought essential winter items including blankets, warm clothing and food.

Others said with winter setting in from the beginning of this month, it has become more difficult for them to find ways to keep warm during the longer nights with the little they have.
Apart from securing warm clothing and food, another shared challenge among many homeless people on the streets is that some have either lost or had their IDs stolen. This makes their lives even more complicated when they want to apply for grants.

Here are some of the things people living on the streets had to say about the harsh weather:
Gift Radebe
Radebe, who along with a group of friends lives on Trichardts Road, said: “It’s freezing and dangerous, but we try to manage with what we have. It’s not enough to keep ourselves warm. Words can’t express how difficult it is, you’d have to experience the situation to understand it.

“We would appreciate it if some good Samaritans out there could help us with blankets, clothes or bottles for hot water.
“I’ve been living on the streets for years and for me is like fighting a never-ending battle to survive.
“I have also noticed that some people, and even the government, tend to forget us. But we hope that God will remember us one of the days, and do something better for us because we need help.
“I know some people are reluctant to help us because they look at us and judge without knowing the circumstances that led to our predicament. Yes some of us are here because of our mistakes, but it’s not like we always wanted to be like this. We all grew up having dreams.

“All we need now is support to change our lives for the better. It’s not like we like to be here or we are lazy to work or do something. We are prepared to work in return for whatever help that we receive if we have to.
“It’s hard but we know with God’s grace we are coping because we know God is the way, the truth and the life. Without him we are nothing.”

Nicholas Myburgh
Myburgh originally hails from Wellington (Western Cape) and has lived in Springs for at least 12 years. He then moved to Boksburg where he has been living on the streets for about five years.
“Life is harder than ever for us during this time of the year and it is by the grace of God that we are still surviving the severe weather.
“We are not asking for shelters, as this may be too much to ask for while many shelters and safe spaces are struggling to cope with the increased demand. All we need is blankets and warm clothes to shield ourselves against the cold weather. We see the clutter that people have in their cupboards as gold.”

Ronald Levinson
Responding to the question as to how he survives the chill, Levinson said: “Being homeless in winter is the hardest part of my life. It’s horrible, but there is only one guy that helps me to survive and His name is Jesus.
“I always ask him to help me survive the harsh reality here one night at a time, and He protects me.
“I also ask him to pave a way for me to make my life wonderful again. I believe Jesus has got something for me but I’m not ready for it. When I’m ready I believe he will give it to me, but in the meantime, I survive.”

Johan Stols
Stols has been living on the streets of different towns, including Brakpan. This was before he recently joined the homeless group in Boksburg North.
He said it’s very cold in the streets and he needs help as he doesn’t even have shoes, a blanket or a jersey.

“I’m prepared to clean a yard or garden of whoever helps me with winter essentials like blankets and warm clothing. At the moment I share a blanket with a friend who also borrows me his morning sleepers to wear.
“If people can help us it will be appreciated. I don’t see a lot of people doing that because we sometimes get people who help, but most blame us for being in this situation without first understanding our circumstances.
“I know God has got a plan for everyone and He will not put you through something that you cannot handle.”

Some of the homeless who spoke to the Advertiser said finding work after losing their contractual jobs or piece jobs, has been difficult.
For some, it’s the reason they are without a roof and food to eat.
Others blamed their situations on poverty, peer pressure, substance abuse and difficulties at home. Finding a job after being released from jail is also difficult.

Also Read: WATCH: Homeless talk about life on the streets of Boksburg


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