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World Homeless Day "Pots of hope" lunch

Thank you to everyone who came and contributed to this day. 10 October 2021 was a turning point in our city - the love showed to the people who live on our streets was incredible. 

253 plates of biryani were served. There was dancing and singing and prayers and salvations. 

The question, "Where Should I Go?" was on everybody's lips and on over 600 tshirts. We still have no homeless shelter in our city, but what we have is a city who has shown that there are many people who care about this crisis. 

A special thank you to DJ Rea from East Coast Radio for the music and to Muirheads Hiring for the beautiful table decor. And to every church or NPO who joined hands with us to make this day a success!  

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The #WhereShouldIGo? Campaign






For World Homeless Day 2021, Life Changer, as part of the Pietermaritzburg Homeless Network, will run a city wide campaign asking the question: Where should I go? 


The campaign includes t-shirts, a city clean up, a Pots of Hope lunch for the homeless and a mass-multimedia approach to our citizens. No one wants to be homeless, but where should they go if we have no shelter or safe space for them? #WhereShouldIGo?

Since the day has come and gone, we would still very much like to raise funds for Shelterbags for our city's rough sleepers. The Shelterbag is warm, dry, water proof and soft. It is portable and offers a pocket for safekeeping for important possessions. At the cost of only R750 , we can give these to those sleeping on the street and offer them a solution for their situation. But we need to raise enough funds to distribute enough of these. So every donation will count. It's NOT the ultimate solution as we still don't have a roof for these individuals, but for now it is a 

wonderful stop-gap and a solution to their most immediate crisis of being dry in the 

rainy season. 

To find out more about Shelterbags, please follow this link: 


To find out more about Pots of Hope, please follow this link: Doorway To Dignity - Pots of Hope



















































The current "shelter" situation in Pietermaritzburg
There are currently approximately 2000 men and women living on or connected to the streets in Pietermaritzburg.

Recent research conducted by Life Changer in the city’s emergency Covid shelter, found that more than two thirds of these homeless people are orphans who were children at the height of the AIDS pandemic and now are adults suffering the consequences.

A recent study in Cape Town, carried out by the Cape Town Coalition to End Homelessness  determined that the cost of homelessness to that city was R142 per person per day,

R4318 per person per month,

and R51811 per person per year.  

45% of this went towards criminal justice and reactive measures and medical intervention, while only 16% went towards development or long-term solutions. *


There is no homeless shelter in Pietermaritzburg offering services that will uplift or empower the homeless in our city.


  • The vast majority of these individuals are addicted to substances, predominately ‘whoonga,’ heroin and cocaine.  

  • There is a desperate need for rehabilitation facilities catering to the homeless in our city

  • Poverty and lack of skills (including soft skills such as time management,) leaves the homeless population with nowhere to go to seek employment and little to offer as potential employees

  • The age group that many of these homeless people fall into means that they could still be alive for a long time and should thus be rehabilitated to rather be contributing to our society

  • Many institutions which should be helping the homeless are wary to do so for fear of criminal intent, along with the unappetising element attached to the perception of the homeless. 

  • Facilities offering rights for the homeless as laid out in our constitution, (such as the right to healthcare,) are often unable to reach, work with or execute these services due to the migratory nature of this population and also their lack of trust for these facilities.   




Our proposed solution

Various organisations in Pietermaritzburg have come together (Pietermaritzburg Homeless Network) to find a solution that will offer meaningful assistance to the homeless community.


What we need is:

  • A safe place for homeless people to sleep where they are not subject to criminal prosecution or criminal activity such as vigilante groups who ransack the homeless and remove their possessions.

  • Ablution facilities for the homeless

  • A rehabilitation programme for those who are substance abusers or dependent.

  • Affordable accommodation for those who are on the cusp of re-emerging into society but cannot yet manage to do so independently

  • Emergency shelter for those who are elderly and vulnerable.   



The vision for our facility would be a place offering the following:

  • Clinic services

  • Psycho-social support

  • A safe space for emergency shelter (not necessarily indoors)

  • A second-hand clothing store

  • Feeding scheme

  • Assistance in procurement of documentation and registration with Home Affairs

  • Safe sleeping space for inclement weather

  • Ablution facilities

  • Laundry facilities

  • Rehabilitation programme

  • Teaching facilities that will teach our clients practical skills such as literacy, numeracy, basic computer skills, basic building skills and other aptitudes 

  • We will also afford the clients who come into facility an opportunity to train in their skills by painting, plumbing, building or improving the facility they will live in, giving them a sense of ownership.



What we aim to deliver

  • We will fundraise and partner with local businesses and other NGOs to pay running costs of the facility.

  • Through donors and volunteers, the practical aspects of training will be executed as best is possible

  • A partnership with the Department of Health and private doctors will facilitate the health care of this mobile demographic of our society.

  • Organisations such as YFC and Life Changer who already provide psycho-social support to the homeless through social workers will be involved in that aspect of the centre.

  • There will be a focus on soft skills such as time management, basic hygiene practises etc 

  • Programmes such as Project Exodus Addiction Recovery Programme will be run to assist those with substance abuse issues.

  • The facility can be used as a place of worship, learning and upliftment: offering skills training, educational programmes and upskilling for our clients.

  • The facility will be staffed 24/7

  • The facility will be secure to control who comes in and who goes out from the premises

  • There will be a focus on re-unification with the community and bridging the divide between our clients and their home community. Community reintegration and family regeneration will be a priority. 

  • The space will also be a safe area for the homeless who are often the victims of abuse and have no place to hide when weather turns inclement for weeks at a time.

  • Partnership with the Dept of Social Development

  • An opportunity for university students (such as Social Work, Psychology, anthropology) from UKZN and elsewhere to do practical work within a safe environment. 

  • A catchment area for research within the spheres of this community.

Requirements for the building

The building allocated to this project will need to meet these minimum requirements:

1. A water-tight roof

2. Multiple floors or usable spaces for a multi-purpose facility

3. A kitchen space

4. Water and electricity

5. A security fence

6. A large car park or outdoor area for the initial “safe space” which will be the first point of entry to the facility

7. Space for accommodation (in various forms) for up to 450 people inside and within the outer area of the building

8. Scope for provision for adequate sanitation facilities for the clients

Minimum starting point would be a safe, under-roof car park - ideal would be a large facility. 

What we are asking:

In simplest terms, this application is a request for intervention on our behalf to grant permission for our coalition to form a rehabilitation centre and accommodation to assist the homeless within the Msunduzi area.

We want to journey alongside the local municipality and help them make our city a better place for all.  



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