Today is World Homeless Day

A homeless couple getting married. Picture: City of Cape Town
Today is World Homeless Day which is commemorated annually with the aim of drawing attention to the needs of street people.

Homelessness is a worldwide phenomenon, although the challenges can vary from city to city. 

The City of Cape Town says it is focusing more on what it can do to mitigate the risks of people ending up on the street and is working closely with those who want to get off the street.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services JP Smith says World Homeless Day is an opportune time to highlight these challenges.

“It speaks to educating the public about issues that street people face. I can say without hesitation that most people haven’t chosen a life on the street, but are there because of circumstance. I implore Capetonians to look beyond the nuisance that many consider street people to be and to invest time and effort to try and understand the individuals and their stories,” said Mr Smith.

He also noted that traffic light donation is often the quick fix for many, but it does not solve the problem of homelessness.

Mr Smith says the City’s Social Development Department will embark on a headcount of street people in the coming months. The count will cover the entire metropole, including 37 hot spot areas for street people.