The suburb of Observatory, also affectionately known as ''Obs'', is one of the older suburbs of the City of Cape Town, home to multiple cultures, a student population from the University of Cape Town, a variety of churches, the Provincial Government Groote Schuur Hospital, the Government Psychiatric Hospital Valkenburg, and the home of the South African Astronomical Observatory built in 1897 - hence the name of the suburb. It is one of the oldest areas of Cape Town. Unfortunately Observatory also has a high crime rate and many homeless people.
In the beginning of 2014 concerned community members of Observatory approached the authors of this article to conduct a research study to profile the homeless in Observatory. The aim of this article is therefore to describe the profile of the homeless in Observatory, Cape Town and to develop some understanding of the lives of the homeless.