Health and well-being of the homeless in South African cities and towns

SOURCE: Development Southern Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): J.R.Seager, T.Tamasane
KEYWORDS: HEALTH, HOMELESS CHILDREN, HOMELESS PEOPLE, POVERTY, STREET CHILDREN
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6258

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Abstract

Little is known about the health and well-being of people who live on the streets although their lifestyle involves health risks. This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the health status and health service needs of homeless people in several South African cities and towns. It was found in some cases that their own or family members' ill-health had contributed to their homelessness. Illnesses associated with poor living conditions or lifestyles were more common in the homeless than in the general population in certain age and sex categories. Access to healthcare was generally good in urban centres and most respondents were satisfied, although some reported discriminatory treatment. The risk profile of the homeless shows that systematic health promotion is required and that some health service providers need to be made more aware of the health needs of the homeless.