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On ‘World Homeless Day’ 2021, we officially announced the opening of Knysna’s first shelter: “The Potters House of Regeneration” (a non-profit company), under the umbrella of Naomi Ministries:


THIS IS CHURCH! - A typical Sunday street service to the homeless people in Knysna

The Potters House (Song by Tramaine Hawkins)

In case you have fallen by the wayside of life

Dreams and visions shattered, you're all broken inside

You don't have to stay in the shape that you're in

The Potter wants to put you back together again

Oh, the Potter wants to put you back together again

In case your situation has turned upside down

And all that you've accomplished, is now on the ground

You don't have to stay in the shape that you're in

The Potter wants to put you back together again

Oh, the Potter wants to put you back together again


You who are broken, stop by the Potter's house

You who need mending, stop by the Potter's house

Give Him the fragments of your broken life

My friend, the Potter wants to put you back together againPotter wants to put you back together again

Joy in the Potter's house (he'll give you joy, yes he will) joy in the Potter's house

love in the Potter's house

there is salvation in the Potter's house

There is healing in the Potter's house


You'll find everything you need in the Potter's house

Because the Potter wants to put you back together again

Oh, the Potter wants to put you back together again




Knysna is a resort town, attracting tourists from all over the world. Unfortunately, the visible problem of unemployed and homeless people places the town at a disadvantage when there are other nearby towns without the visible presence of homeless people, begging at every possible spot. Knysna is the only town on the garden route without any facilities for the homeless. There are well functioning shelters or places of safety in Mossel Bay, George, Oudsthoorn and Plettenberg Bay. So, what is wrong with Knysna?

When the President made it mandatory for Municipalities to accommodate all Street People during the Covid Lockdown, it was a relief to know that they were being taken care of. This opportunity was also used to achieve many services for the homeless, such as re-unification with estranged families, mental health assistance, obtaining ID Books, Up Skilling, Addiction Counseling and Programs, and general upliftment of our homeless people.

Since the Knysna Homeless have been back on the streets, with no-where to go for shelter, there has been a marked increase in the disturbance to residents, churches, and businesses of having homeless people sleeping on or near their properties. These people have no income, no resources, and no help, apart from some food distribution. They are just trying to survive.  In Knysna, we have many facilities for stray dogs and cats but no shelter for our fellow brothers and sisters, who find themselves on the streets of Knysna.

Knysna is not unique, there are homeless people all over the world, and most civilized societies have responded with homeless shelters of some sort.

We understand that not all homeless people are paragons of virtue, that some choose not to be in a shelter, that there will be public resistance by some Knysna residents to a homeless shelter, and that a homeless shelter requires long term commitment.

Important factors are:

  1. Being homeless is not a crime or a sin.

  2. In terms of the South African Constitution, all South Africans have human rights, including Homeless people.

  3. Many Knysna residents have dehumanized the homeless, and treat them as less than human, without compassion.

  4. There are homeless people all over the world, and especially in South Africa with our high unemployment rate, which has risen since Covid 19.

  5. Some of the SA homeless should be accommodated in institutions for either the mentally or physically handicapped but have nowhere to turn.

  6. Some are too old and/or ill to work and have nowhere to turn.

  7. Some are estranged from their families or have no family.

  8. Ignoring the problem of the homeless in Knysna will not make it go away.

  9. Harassing the homeless and taking their meagre belongings in “clean up” operations will also not make the problem go away.

  10. A compassionate community response would be the humane course of action, as in many other cities across the world and in SA.

  11. The significance of public/private partners cannot be overestimated. So much more can be achieved with strong committed partnerships. There are NGO’s willing and able to assist with making this a reality.

We have read the Western Cape Government’s NORMS & STANDARDS FOR SHELTERS FOR HOMELESS ADULTS and are mindful of the contents.

It is our hope that if the NGO’s, the community, and the municipality work together, with a common goal, to change the attitudes and behaviors of both the homeless people and the Knysna public that a sustainable solution for the Homeless people in Knysna will result.  We hope to see a concrete plan emerge to address this challenge. (this letter was written by Kathy - a concerned Knysna resident)


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