Health and wellbeing

More support needed for people sleeping rough on Sydney streets

While more rough sleepers than ever are being housed, the number of people who were homeless this summer increased. More needs to be done.


The City of Sydney has recorded a 13 per cent increase in the number of people sleeping rough in inner Sydney streets, parks and other public spaces this summer.

Our latest street count found 373 people sleeping rough in the city area on Tuesday 19 February. That’s 44 more people than at the same time last year.

The winter count in August 2018 found fewer people sleeping rough – 278 people compared with 386 in August 2017.

While the help we give people on the street every day must continue, more needs to be done to prevent people from becoming homeless.

The summer count saw 30 City staff and 132 volunteers traverse the city from 1am to 3am on 19 February to record the number of people sleeping rough. They were joined by 20 advisors – volunteers who have personally experienced homelessness.

The count also revealed crisis and temporary accommodation beds are at over 86 per cent occupancy.

The City supports the work of NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) and nongovernment organisations to provide more housing and services to rough sleepers in the city.

We want more support for young people at risk of homelessness and people who are struggling financially, fleeing domestic violence and leaving hospitals, prisons or other institutions.

But we need more affordable housing alongside better support for people trying to leave homelessness behind them.

There is not enough affordable housing to meet demand and growing numbers are surviving either on the streets or in crowded crisis accommodation.

Homelessness can’t be solved without a sustained and urgent investment of social and affordable housing.

Every day, City staff work with people who are experiencing homelessness and make sure they get the support and services they need. We will also continue to work with our partners to address the factors that contribute to housing stress and put people at risk of homelessness.

Read more about how we are addressing homelessness in Sydney and working to provide more affordable housing.

Published 5 March 2019

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