The City of Joburg, which is a responsive and pro-poor government, has established and strengthened several programmes aimed at assisting and managing people living and working in the streets.
According to the 2015 Human Sciences Resource Council, South Africa has about 200 000 street homeless people. Homelessness is a complex term that has three distinguishable characteristics which are primary, secondary and tertiary homelessness.
• Primary homeless is when a person does not have conventional shelter.
• Secondary homeless is when a person has access to temporary shelter. For example a person can be homeless in the urban space but have homes in rural areas.
• Tertiary homelessness is characterised as someone who has access to some form of housing such as informal houses and trailers.
As part of the City’s comprehensive strategy to assist the homeless, it has interventions to break the cycle of people living on the streets and transition them back into society. The key interventions managed by the City’s department of Social Development are; Shelter management, awareness and prevention, community reintegration, family reunification and skills development.
The City’s 03 Kotze Street overnight shelter in Hillbrow has 150 beds. The shelter caters primarily for economically active street-dwellers. Occupants of the shelter are only expected to pay a nominal fee of R8 and get access to washing facilities, food and a locker.
The Kotze Street shelter also provides the Chow4Change awareness event that seeks to restore the dignity of homeless and street people and communicate their plight to greater society.
The Chow4Change awareness is done through the use of a pop-up restaurant and second hand clothing store. The awareness programme exposes homeless and street people to a restaurant setting, donated clothes, medical services, counselling, shelter placement and enrolment to drug rehabilitation assessment.
Some of the other interventions offered by Social Development include outreach services, where the department targets hotspots that are invaded by street and homeless people. At the hotspots education about the services available for them and how to access them is given.