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NOV 2021 – JUN 2022

Diagnostic Study to Understand Homelessness in South Africa


The National Department of Social Development (DSD) commissioned Strategic Analytics and Management to conduct a rapid study to determine the immediate interventions required by homeless people as well as to provide diagnostic analysis on the socio-economic conditions and service delivery needs as well as the root causes of homelessness in South Africa.

To provide empirical evidence on appropriate interventions, policies and guidelines to manage homelessness.

The study scope was undertaken at a national level and covered all eight metropolitan municipalities in South Africa, namely: i) Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, ii) City of Cape Town, iii) City of eThekwini, iv) City of Johannesburg, v) City of Tshwane, vi) Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, vii) Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and viii) Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality.

The study was also conducted in major towns, cities and other urban areas where homelessness is prevalent. This included all areas identified as "hot spots" defined as areas with multiple vulnerabilities, especially during COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Key Evaluation Questions:

  1. What are the immediate interventions required by the homeless and destitute families?

  2. What are the root causes of homelessness in South Africa?

  3. What is the prevalence of homelessness in South Africa?

    1. What is the demographic character of homelessness (statistics)?

  4. Are there any government policies and legislation/ guidelines on homelessness? Is there alignment between these policies and legislation?

  5. What are the existing government services provided to the homeless aligned to the various life cycle stages?

    1. What are the institutional arrangements in place for planning and management of these services?

    2. What are the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders?

  6. What are the current funding models to address homelessness?

    1. What are the current public and private partnership models?

  7. What evidence from other countries exists on solutions that are working? Are there lessons that can be learned from these countries to develop workable solutions?


A cross-sectional mixed method study design was employed to gather data from sampled sites in the different metropolitan areas and towns across the country. All 8 Metros were included along with several smaller cities/towns.


  1. Diagnostic Study on Homelessness

    • Rapid assessment of status of Homeless people and shelters across provinces

    • Detailed Analysis of data from Homeless people and comprehensive Report

    • Policy brief

  2. Policy Development Work

    • Round table /Problem analysis/stakeholder analysis

    • TOC Development


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