Words: Geoff Burton Images: Supplied
In the early 1980s it was becoming clear that the number of people living on the streets of central Cape Town was growing – it was estimated that there were more than 1 000 homeless people here. A group of five business friends began to study the problem and to seek solutions. Arising out of these discussions grew the idea to find a venue where training in carpentry and other skills could be offered to homeless people, and where they could be provided with a hot meal daily.
In 1981 a suitable premises was found at 14a Roeland Street. The Carpenter’s Shop consisted of a large vacant three- storey school building and grounds. It had stood derelict since 1975, when its pupils were removed with their families to places far out of town, in terms of the Group Areas Act. Several months ago it was renamed The Hope Exchange.