The City’s plans to open a centre in Milnerton for homeless people will help those battling the cold. The centre will have even greater benefit if it takes a holistic approach to rehabilitating street people and not only giving them a warm place to stay.

Such an approach would include making counselling and medical facilities available.

At this stage, however, it’s anyone’s guess just how effective such a centre will be in getting the homeless off the streets. The City says the centre will cater for 200 to 250 people “dependent on available space”.

But once word gets out, it is bound to attract many more people desperate to get off the streets, especially during winter.

Once the shelter is full, where will the rest go? It’s likely they will continue hanging around the neighbourhood in the hopes of getting in. And that’s not going to make the centre popular with its neighbours.

News of the plan may well draw a negative response from the many Milnerton residents who are unaware of the proposal and will no doubt feel the City has left them out of the loop on purpose.