The Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC) was repurposed as a screening centre for the city’s homeless, ahead of the national lockdown. The eThekwini Task Team on Homelessness identified the venue as a suitable central point to receive an expected 1,000 homeless people, and for the Department of Social Development to assess them, and the Department of Health to screen them.

“Initially one-thousand people were expected to be screened at the centre; however we were able to help 1,600 people over the course of the first three days.”

Lindiwe Rakharebe, Durban ICC Chief Executive Officer, said, “The Durban ICC is committed to playing its part in and offering as much support as we can. Initially one-thousand people were expected to be screened at the centre; however we were able to help 1,600 people over the course of the first three days.”

In addition, each person received meals, blankets, and hygiene packs, before being taken to the venue where they were to be housed and fed for the lockdown period (26 March to 17 April 2020). These venues include, among others, the Denis Hurley Centre, the YMCA, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and the Strollers facility.

A number of NGOs and municipally-funded caterers will provide meals to all residents throughout the lockdown period, and security and health-care staff have been appointed to all venues.