The story of NOAH (Neighbourhood Old Age Homes) is a long one, having its seeds in the stories of heroic individuals who stood up against injustice during the dark days of Apartheid to form the Catholic Welfare Bureau – CWB in 1969 (now known as Catholic Welfare and Development – CWD).
Beyond the lifeline CWB provided to the virtually powerless poor individuals and families, they also recognised the plight of the poor elderly of Cape Town. In response, Homes for the Aged (HFA) was CWB’s first community project established in 1981.
Built on the UK Abbeyfield Society model of affordable non-institutionalised housing and support for the elderly, NOAH consists of ordinary houses in ordinary streets where residents can continue to live and function in the familiar territory of their community.
Over the next six years, several residential houses were opened. And in 1989, McNulty House was added as a 12-bed extra care unit for frail residents.
As needs and circumstances changed, HFA continued to grow and evolve – largely thanks to generous donations from supportive trusts and foundations.
In 1994, the project name changed from Houses for the Aged (HFA) to the present Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH). And because of decreasing community geriatric services and poor treatment of the elderly at day hospitals, lobbying of the provincial Department of Health began for help to set up a primary health care clinic.
1995 saw McCann House renovated and opened; the establishment of the NOAH Senior Citizens Club; a partnership agreement in health signed with the University of Cape Town; and the clinic opened to any social pensioner in the area.
Blessed with corporate and trust support, as well as individual bequests of two properties, NOAH continued to grow.
The turn of the century initiated a period of refining and streamlining holistic care for the aged within community-based support structures. NOAH thus continues with the vision and mission to provide ‘home, health and happiness’ to senior citizens whose only income is the Government pension of R1 690 per month.
This provision doesn’t just ‘happen’. It requires compassion, commitment, input, management, maintenance, adaptability, and very importantly, financial support beyond what our residents can provide from their meagre pensions.
Thirty-six years after its small beginning, the NOAH of today holds 11 suburban residential houses in a property trust and runs a NOAH club and clinic in both Woodstock and Khayelitsha.
Providing services to over 700 social pensioners seems like an achievement (and it is), also saying a great deal about the generosity of our corporate, trust, foundation, and individual donors, but the need continues to grow. This means that more needs to be done.
Will you join us to maintain where we are, and to grow into the future?