WATCH | The homelessness pandemic: ‘When Covid-19 started until now, my life is the same’


Homeless shelters across SA have found themselves overwhelmed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Frida Hartley shelter for women is one of the shelters that have managed to keep afloat. According to their COO Cheryl Hlabane, the shelter has mostly been reliant on private donors, not the government.

Mpho, a 32-year-old homeless man from the North West has been living on the streets of Johannesburg since 2009. He washes car windows for a living and found himself having to rely on donations during the lockdown as fewer cars were on the road. Mpho says he had heard the government was taking homeless people in during alert level 5 lockdown but had no idea when or how. As a result, he stayed on the streets throughout the lockdown. 

Prof Stephan de Beer, director of the Centre for Faith and Community at the University of Pretoria, says there needs to be a collaborative effort between the private sector, NGO sector and the state to try to resolve the issue of homeless.  


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