In response to a request from the City of Tshwane that homelessness in the city be explored, a research team was established in 2014. The research was divided into four pillars: conceptual/theoretical perspectives of homelessness; narratives and experiences of homeless and former homeless people, particularly women; documentation of current practices to curb homelessness in the city; and policies that address homelessness in City of Tshwane. This article focuses on the second pillar. Individual interviews and one focus group interview with eight women were conducted. The results revealed four storylines: a shelter was halfway home; shelters had restrictive and protective regulations; reconnection programmes with families were required; and hope – as a matter of survival. Improving people’s economic status (not providing shelters) was the permanent solution to homelessness. Emphasis was on women’s right to equal status in housing issues which are guided by well-founded policies that are women friendly.