A safe and accessible city

Further efforts needed to reduce homelessness

Results of our recent street count highlight the need for urgent support to help those sleeping rough.

A person sleeping on the street covered with blankets, with belongings nearby.
Street count bags

In the early hours of a Tuesday morning, a team of 82 volunteers, including sector workers, City of Sydney employees and advisers with firsthand experience of homelessness, took to the streets for an important task.

From 1am to 3am on 27 February, they conducted a count of Sydney's rough sleepers.

There were 280 people sleeping rough across the local area, a 1% increase from 277 people last year.

A total of 392 people were staying in temporary and crisis accommodation on the night of the count, representing 96.6% occupancy.

“The lack of affordable housing is one of our biggest social and economic challenges and it needs to be tackled by all levels of government. Housing is not just a commodity, it is a basic human right, essential for building a cohesive and prosperous city,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“Even though housing is primarily a state government responsibility, all levels of government must prioritise increased access to housing, enhanced engagement with and support for people experiencing homelessness and improved collaboration with other organisations.

“By working together, we are confident in our ability to make meaningful progress in addressing this important issue within our communities.

“Addressing homelessness requires significant investment from the NSW Government. In particular, there is a critical need to invest in high support accommodation for people with complex mental health needs.

“We need better mental health support for people experiencing homelessness including dedicated crisis or temporary accommodation as people leave corrections or psychiatric care and more long-term rehabilitation centres for both mental health and drug and alcohol issues.

“It’s also important we have social housing dedicated for women and an overall increase in social and affordable housing.”

The City of Sydney has a longstanding commitment to tackling homelessness and established the first unit dedicated to addressing the issue in Australia.

We’ve held street counts since 2010 to track the numbers of people sleeping rough in the local area, and each year allocate more than $2 million to fund homelessness support and specialist services.

See more information about the street count program and previous figures.

Published 15 March 2024

More on Homelessness