Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

15 January 2014

South Africa: A Homeless Bazaar - Cape Town's 'Street Store', Where Everything's for Free

analysis

On Tuesday, an initiative billed as 'the world's first rent-free, premises-free, free pop-up clothing store for the poor' arrived on Cape Town's streets for one day only.

The Street Store, a collaboration between a Cape Town ad agency and a local homeless shelter, solicited donations of clothing from the public, hung up the garments, and then allowed homeless people to browse through the offerings to select what they wanted. Hundreds of people left with new outfits.

The number of homeless people in Cape Town is on the rise, a fact normally attributed to the growing prevalence of drug addiction and rising unemployment. In winter, in particular, homeless shelters find themselves stretched for resources while grim weather batters the city.

The City of Cape Town has been criticised over the past year for the steps it has tried to take to make various public areas in the CBD less hospitable for homeless people looking for somewhere to shelter: the placing of rocks under the Nelson Mandela Boulevard, for instance, and an abandoned attempt to make the benches in the Company Garden unsuitable for lying on.

The question of how best members of the public can assist Cape Town's...

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