Gauteng social development set aside over R87 million for homeless people

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Homeless people are at their own ‘shelters’ in the streets of Braamfontein in Johannesburg. Photo: Rosetta Msimango
Homeless people are at their own ‘shelters’ in the streets of Braamfontein in Johannesburg. Photo: Rosetta Msimango


Gauteng government has set aside over R87 million to spend on programmes for homeless people.

Gauteng Social Development MEC Morakane Mosupyoe said the growing number of homeless people remained a cause for concern for the government in the province.

“In Gauteng, it is estimated that the largest homeless population is in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros with over 25 000 homeless people. It is, therefore, the department’s interest that a concerted effort be made to deal with homelessness and ensure that homeless people do not return to life on the streets but are supported and integrated back into their families and communities,” said Mosupyoe.

According to the provincial department, homeless people were the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Gauteng executive council approved a five-year strategy on homelessness referred to as the Gauteng City Region Strategy on Adult Street Homelessness.

READ: From spending nights in a shelter in Cape Town to university in Canada

The department said research done by the Cape Metropolitan Council shows that homeless people were among the vulnerable members of society and lived with the problem of illiteracy, substance abuse, hunger, malnutrition and inadequate shelter. They are also prone to sexual and criminal abuse, and have physical and mental problems.

Mosupyoe, who on Monday was responding to the Gauteng legislature regarding the funding of a homeless shelter, said over R87.4 million had been allocated to municipalities since the start of the current financial year to deal with homelessness in the province:

Homeless people are regarded as vulnerable people who require social development services, as well as support from other departments and stakeholders. The provincial social development will, therefore, continue with care and protection services to homeless people across the province, utilising shelters as a vehicle to reach out, including those who are currently on the streets.

She said the province was currently collaborating with municipalities in planning and implanting services for the homeless. The department, Mosupyoe added, was providing capacity building, education and awareness programmes, funding for meals, staff, security and other running costs, development of homeless services policies and coordination of the homeless programme.

READ: 'Homeless man' breaches SSA headquarters

Mosupyoe said the department also worked with municipalities and nonprofit organisations to provide services, such as meals, treatment for substance abuse, medical screening, counselling and reunification with families.

“Notably, homelessness is a social phenomenon that cannot be eradicated completely. What remains critical is to have a well-functioning integrated system that can respond at any given time and have need-based responsive programmes.”

She also mentioned the department was currently funding 26 homeless shelters in the province.

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