Understanding homelessness and migratory behaviour: a case study of adult homelessness in Durban South Beach area, South Africa.
Dube, Mbalenhle Charity.
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Homelessness often carries negative connotations globally mainly because people do not have accurate knowledge of the phenomenon. A holistic understanding of homelessness in a country is important for government policies aimed at improving the living standards of all its citizens. This research sought to explore and understand homelessness in the Durban South Beach area. The researcher aimed at establishing factors that lead people to homelessness, the reasons why homeless people chose to settle in Durban and their life experiences as the homeless. The study draws on qualitative data. The sample consisted of fifteen participants staying at a shelter for homeless people in Durban South Beach. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect information on their perspectives and experiences of homelessness. The majority of the study participants became homeless following loss of employment. Family problems as well as communal factors like gang violence were also cited as contributing factors to homelessness. Participants cited health considerations, convenient access to utilities, safety and affordability among other reasons for settling at the shelter. The study recommends that interventions aimed at eliminating social problems like gangs, better access to education and skills development, and greater investment in rural areas to curb rural-urban migration is designed in order to reduce vulnerability to homelessness.
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