Reports of increases in the numbers of homeless people are pouring in from all over the world yet many governments still do not consider homelessness worthy of a policy response in its own right and relegate it to the periphery of either housing or social (welfare) policy arenas and interventions. In the introductory sections of this article, reference is made to the current extent of homelessness in the world and the rise to prominence of a rights-based approach to homelessness. This is followed by a brief overview of responses to homelessness in Australia, the USA and some European countries. A few of the key components of these responses and their relevance for homelessness policies in South Africa and the City of Tshwane are identified.