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Local metropolitan government responses to homelessness in South Africa


  • Jacques du Toit


This article examines metropolitan government responses to homelessness in South Africa, including the context of responses, preparedness to respond, factors influencing responses, shelter locations, and homeless persons' views. Whereas the literature emphasises the need for spatial or physical interventions, this research, using multiple case studies, found that three out of four metropolitan municipalities viewed homelessness primarily as a social dependency issue and responded with social interventions. Yet homeless persons indicated that the most important thing the municipality could do for them was to provide employment and well-located affordable housing. The study concludes that municipalities might respond more effectively with spatial or physical interventions such as equitable urban planning and design and sensitive land use management, and by providing affordable housing close to places of employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques du Toit, 2010. "Local metropolitan government responses to homelessness in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 111-128.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:27:y:2010:i:1:p:111-128 DOI: 10.1080/03768350903519390

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johan Fourie, 2006. "Economic Infrastructure: A Review Of Definitions, Theory And Empirics," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(3), pages 530-556, September.
    2. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2005. "Assessing the impact of communication costs on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 428-445, December.
    3. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "White elephants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 197-210, February.
    4. Limao, Nuno & Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Infrastructure, geographical disadvantage, and transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2257, The World Bank.
    5. Peter Perkins & Johann Fedderke & John Luiz, 2005. "An Analysis Of Economic Infrastructure Investment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(2), pages 211-228, June.
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