Skeletons at the Feast? A review of the Homelessness Question in SA and Other World Regions.

by CROSS, C., SEAGER, J., ERASMUS, J., WARD, C., and O'DONOVAN, M, 2010
Development Southern Africa, 27:1, 5-20

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.