Further efforts needed to reduce Sydney’s homelessness

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.

They conducted a count of Sydney’s rough sleepers from 1 am to 3 am on 27 February.

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

392 people stayed 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 must 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 making 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.”

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