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Plight of the homeless under the spotlight

SABC News Homeless 1 - Plight of the homeless under the spotlight

The cold front gripping the country has once again brought the plight of the poor, who also have no place to call home, under the spotlight.

The lack of affordable housing, addiction, family problems, migration and joblessness are some of the issues that remain a headache and are said to be contributing to the growth of the community that lives on the streets.

Research numbers on the homeless vary, but the Human Sciences Resource Council (HSRC) has put it to at least 200 000, including people without homes who live in rural areas.

According to the Council, homelessness is not only confined to people who have no roof over their heads, but also refers to low income earners who live in an informal structure that is not safe or secure.

“Homelessness is defined by the patterns of time that individuals or families spend being without, or outside of, conventional shelters or housing. Homelessness may be temporary, episodic (over a short period), or chronic (permanent).”

The homeless say they live in perpetual state of fear and uncertainty.

Women are even more vulnerable, with researchers saying, some even end up exchanging sex for safety.

SABC News caught up with Quinton Wellington and Elvis (his preferred name), who live on the streets of Melville, in Johannesburg.

During filming – the owners of the building they had been sleeping outside of called security guards to chase them away.

They were given two days to find another spot to lay their heads, something which the group of friends say is an impossibility as some of them have lost their identity documents (IDs) and they don’t even make enough money to pay rent anywhere.

They say they don’t know any shelters around Melville – a preferred area of residence for them at the moment in the city.

Watch their story below:

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