U-turn is a registered NGO based in Cape Town founded in 1997 dealing with homelessness. Over the past 21 years, have crafted an innovative skills based programme designed with long term results for rehabilitation and reintegration. Six months after graduating from the programme, more than 80% of participants remain employed and sober. The phased programme starts with basic needs relief, like food and clothing, available at their First Phase Service Centre and continues on to Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Support, and finally culminates in a work-based learnership that lasts on average 19 months, called the “Life Change” programme, which nurtures an individual’s personal and vocational skills, as well as relapse prevention. The Life Change programme is the heart of U-turn’s skills development model and offers work-placement at one of the Charity shops, laundry or at First Phase Service Centre. The shops are managed from the top down approach by formerly homeless individuals, providing on-the-job learning of merchandising, stock taking, customer service and other skills. Participants also access weekly occupational therapy, relapse prevention and formal training in English, literacy, IT, as well as accredited business management for selected participants.
U-turn operates daily in 9 locations in the city, employs over 30 staff and engages more than 1000 homeless clients each year. U-turn walks with people throughout their journey out of homelessness, taking individuals from unemployed, dependent and addicted to employed, independent and sober. Provide a holistic pathway to help individuals overcome homelessness through skills training and work experience, partake in solutions for neighbourhoods that want to assist the homeless in their midst, running local partnerships between local non-profits and serving on national movements that work towards ending Homelessness. The impact of the program sees drug and alcohol rehab graduation rate at 76% and six month after graduation 83% remain in employment and 79% in formal accommodation.
U-turn want to see real lasting change to the problem of homelessness in the city and have plans to open 2 new service centres where homeless people can start their journey, grow their rehabilitation programme to at least 60 on-the-job training spaces, became more and more a praying organisation and continue the process of establishing a social franchise to open additional U-turn branches across South Africa.