eThekwini’s research on the homeless

2015-08-18 06:00

THE eThekwini Municipality is to fund a unique research project in order to better understand the city’s homeless population.

The study, which is to be conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council, is expected to run to mid-2016, and once completed to be integrated into city policy to deal with a growing number of homeless people within Durban’s CBD.

HSRC researcher Dr Chris Desmond said the planning for the study was still in its “early stages”, but added that once the research was concluded it would give Durban city bosses a unique perspective.

“The city wants to tailor its solution to dealing with homelessness,” he said.

Desmond, who said the city’s approach was “progressive”, added that a collaborative approach is being sought in the research including discussions with the municipality, non-profit organisations, business and the homeless.

“Homelessness is not a simple problem and we need to study it in this city’s context. We intend to conduct interviews with those living on the street and the affected public. We want to understand how a person arrived on the streets,” said Desmond.

He said for instance some people lived on the street “for a week” while looking for work before returning home, while others may have an addiction.

“In order to deal with this issue we need to get the balance right. It is hoped this research will influence numerous policies. For example one policy could speak to the provision of cheap accommodation for the job seeker,” he said.

The first phase of the research will begin in November with the third and final phase expected to take place early next year.

The city wants to tailor its solution to dealing with homelessness

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