Media releases

More support needed to address homelessness in Sydney

Published 7 March 2024

The number of people sleeping rough on Sydney’s streets has remained relatively unchanged, underscoring the ongoing need to effectively address homelessness.

The City of Sydney’s latest street count, in the early hours of Tuesday 27 February, found 280 individuals sleeping rough in the local area. This represents a 1% increase from the 277 counted during the same month last year – a clear sign that there is much work to be done to support those experiencing homelessness.

Crisis and temporary accommodation beds, vital for providing immediate relief and support, were at 96.6% occupancy during the same period, showing an increase of 3.6% from last year.

The street count was made possible by the dedication of 82 volunteers, 11 homelessness advisors with lived experience of homelessness and 17 City of Sydney employees.

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO announced the figures today at the City of Sydney affordable, social and inclusive housing forum which brought together mayors, councillors, industry experts, peak bodies and major community housing providers.

“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,” the Lord Mayor 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. It established the first dedicated homelessness unit in Australia and has held street counts since 2010 to track the numbers of people sleeping rough in the local area.

“While the primary responsibility rests with the NSW Government, we have responded to homelessness for almost 40 years,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Each year allocate more than $2 million to fund homelessness support operations and specialist services.”

For more information on the street count program and figures from previous counts visit

Media contact, Elaine Kelly on 0477 362 550 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore contact