IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Skeletons at the feast: A review of street homelessness in South Africa and other world regions


  • Catherine Cross
  • John Seager
  • Johan Erasmus
  • Cathy Ward
  • Michael O'Donovan


Homelessness on the streets has been of concern to governments and civil society for hundreds of years, and the number of homeless tends to rise when economic conditions take an adverse turn. Laying stress on questions of access to housing, livelihoods and services, this paper compares the historical causes of homelessness in Britain and Europe, India, the US and South Africa, in order to approach a better understanding of South Africa's own homelessness situation. Internationally, the key debate is whether homelessness is due to simple lack of affordable housing, or to a range of complex factors involving poverty and unemployment. The paper argues that spatial access to street livelihoods and access to the metro core zones are critical factors linking housing access to poverty economics, and it questions whether in South Africa's situation street homelessness can be eliminated in the foreseeable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Cross & John Seager & Johan Erasmus & Cathy Ward & Michael O'Donovan, 2010. "Skeletons at the feast: A review of street homelessness in South Africa and other world regions," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 5-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:27:y:2010:i:1:p:5-20
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903519291

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:27:y:2010:i:1:p:5-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.