Jon Hopkins from the NGO, U-turn, was guest speaker at the recent inaugural public meeting for DPV Outreach. U-turn, together with Streetscapes and MES (an NGO based in the Northern Suburbs) researched the cost of homelessness in Cape Town, and published their findings in February 2021, just before lockdown. Their research looked into three main areas:

  • Developmental: These are costs of providing direct services to the homeless such as shelter, food, ablutions, social support, skills development and economic empowerment.
  • Reactive and Punitive: These are costs for reacting to homelessness, either through an urban management requirement (e.g. cleaning), a security-based response, or increased demand on the criminal justice system.
  • Humanitarian: These are the cash handouts given to homeless people every day from Cape Town residents who support them either out of concern or compassion.

They estimate almost 14 500 people live rough in the Greater Cape Town area at a cost of more than R744 million rand a year!

Jon’s talk at the meeting covered the causes of homelessness and made some suggestions about effective responses.

See this link for a summary of the report. The full report with an explanation of how the research was structured and a detailed breakdown of their findings can be found here.