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Towards identifying the causes of South Africa's street homelessness: Some policy recommendations


  • Catherine Cross
  • John Seager


The Human Sciences Research Council's four-year study of street homelessness in South Africa highlights the way unemployment stresses poor households and sets in motion processes of exclusion, and suggests that the social wage safety net is not protecting the street homeless. Although subsidised housing and social grants seem to head off homelessness in many cases, they mainly target the poor in shacks, an economic migrant population who seem more able to access on their own the benefits due to them, without needing institutional help. This paper recommends both prevention and remediation. It highlights the roles of housing delivery and the social wage, which should include measures that will work for both shack residents and the street homeless and will assist failed work-seekers who are at risk of homelessness. Allowing access to street livelihoods may be the only practical alternative to expanding social grant support to include the structurally unemployed.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Cross & John Seager, 2010. "Towards identifying the causes of South Africa's street homelessness: Some policy recommendations," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 143-158.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:27:y:2010:i:1:p:143-158
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903519416

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