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“Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re on the outskirts of society”

(Frank Dillane, 2015)


This site provides a glimpse into local, provincial, national and international attempts to end street homelessness. It is a portal into research, policy-making and good practices that seek to do justice on the streets of the world’s cities and towns. 

Homelessness is a psycho-social, health, economic & housing issue.

Homelessness is a human rights issue.

Homelessness is an issue of human dignity and broken community.


Homelessness is an issue of social, spatial and economic justice.


Homelessness is a mirror into the state of a society’s soul.

Unit for Street Homelessness

The Unit for Street Homelessness is based in the Department of Practical Theology at the University of Pretoria, and managed by the Centre for Faith and Community. 


The Unit serves and supports those engaging issues of street homelessness – policy-makers; public officials; community-based, faith-based or non-profit sectors; and academic institutions – through two distinct programmes.  

The Unit informs and shapes good practices, and contributes to advocacy processes and public policy on street homelessness, through 


  • continuous, dedicated and engaged research; 

  • strategic documentation and dissemination of knowledge and information; 

  • community education; and 

  • public engagement


Pathways out of Homelessness

Pathways out of Homelessness is a collaborative research project on street homelessness in the City of Tshwane, since 2015. Hosted by the Centre for Faith and Community, it is a trans-disciplinary project, bringing together research from various disciplines at the University of Pretoria and University of South Africa, as well as community practitioners and (former) homeless persons, to find solutions for homeless challenges. 

The first phase of the project ran from 2015-2017 and one of the concrete outcomes was a draft Policy on Street Homelessness for the City of Tshwane, finally adopted in July/August of 2019 as the City’s official policy. 

The second phase was supported by the National Research Foundation, running from 2018 to 2021. It focused on delving deeper on some of the research findings made during the first phase, investigating the causes and possible solutions for older homelessness, student homelessness and suburban homelessness.

National Homeless Network

The National Homeless Network is a movement that brings together organisations in eight cities across South Africa. 

It includes practitioners, NGOs, FBOs, CBOs, local homeless forums, activists, academics, and most importantly current and former homeless individuals. It also partners with various government institutions and departments.


Established in 2017, the network seeks collectively across South Africa to help prevent homelessness, to improve the conditions of people who are homeless, and to find pathways out of homelessness.

Institute of Global Homelessness

The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) drives a global movement to end street homelessness. Our vision is a world where everyone has a home that offers security, safety, autonomy, and opportunity. Founded in 2014, IGH is the first organization to focus on homelessness as a global phenomenon with an emphasis on those who are living on the street or in emergency shelters. It is a partnership between DePaul University (Chicago, USA), and Depaul International (London, UK). 


In 2017, the City of Tshwane became one of the first cohort of Vanguard Cities, committed to reduce street homelessness among a specific vulnerable population. In the City of Tshwane, the objective was to reduce the number of older homeless persons with 50% by the year 2020.

Tswane Homelessness Forum

The Homeless Count – sign up in the City of Tshwane, for 19 October 2022, and beyond

The first-ever Tshwane Homeless Count will take place on 19 October 2022. 

The global homeless population is soaring. For the first time in history the United Nations has adopted a resolution to end homelessness through affordable housing. Soon member states would be called upon to heed this call.


How will South Africa respond? How a nation or a city cares for its most vulnerable populations, tells us something about the quality and integrity of that nation or city. If we fail to care well for people who are homeless, affirming their dignity, supporting them with pathways out of homelessness, and ensuring their full right to the city, we might have all the wealth in the world, but we would have lost our soul. 

To end homelessness for as many people as possible, in sustainable ways, and to state that homelessness is a priority for a city, having accurate data is of utmost importance. Not having data tells a story of apathy, denial and ignorance. That is why in the City of Tshwane, a city-wide count will take place of people who are homeless, on the night of 19 October 2022. 

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. 

Mother Teresa

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