On 19 February 2024, MES participated in the National Homeless Dialogues, organised by the National Homeless Network at The Manger in Kempton Park. The National Homeless Network is a collaborative movement, uniting diverse organisations from multiple cities across South Africa.

The event gathered approximately 80 attendees from various backgrounds, including NGO representatives, academics, researchers, pastors, government officials, and individuals with personal experiences of homelessness. During the event, a key topic of conversation was the National Policy on homelessness.

By the close of the Conference, delegates left with a few core principles:

  1. Homelessness is complex and needs a complex response from the state, civil society, and business.
  2. A citywide database is crucial in capturing standardised baseline surveys and impact data.
  3. Collective Impact Approach models – like the Joint Operations Committees in Cape Town – are the only way to reduce homelessness. One plan and one developmental language.
  4. Ending homelessness is an intentional process, and its impact needs to be measured – we need to:
    • prevent it;
    • make it a rare occurrence (we need to know when new people end up on the street and why);
    • make it brief (when people are homeless) and non-recurring (those that exit must do so sustainably and not return to the streets);
    • a variety of solutions for accommodation and services (day and night services) for each area.

Together, we CAN reduce homelessness in South Africa!

Click here to read the National Homeless Network media statement.