Homelessness NSW calls for action to address inner city homelessness crisis
Homelessness NSW again calls for action to address the inner city homelessness crisis following the release of the February 2019 Street Count figures which show that there were 373 people sleeping rough, an increase of 13% since the February 2018 Street Count.
Since Martin Place just over 18 months ago, the NSW Government has been actively working to provide housing to people sleeping rough in hot spots across the city, with over 350 people being provided with housing over the past 18 months.
Despite these intensive efforts, the number of rough sleepers in the inner city is again on the rise.
The existing system is broken and we need all levels of government to collaborate and to look at what resources can be committed to end rough sleeping in the inner city.
For over 3 years, Homelessness NSW has been calling for the development of a cross-government plan to address rising inner-city homelessness. The announcement of rough sleeper targets to halve homelessness by 2025 are a welcome first step, but without investment to support this commitment these targets won’t be met.
Urgent investment in social housing and case managed support (Housing First) combined with the establishment of a cross-government taskforce that looks at actively ending homelessness is required – internationally this is what other major cities have done and it works.
Across the world, Housing First ends homelessness for 80-90% of clients housed in this way. This approach combined with actively preventing exits from prisons, health services, out of home care and social housing into homelessness will reduce the homeless population in inner city Sydney. A 2018 report indicates that 7 out of 10 rough sleepers in inner city Sydney have either been exited from prison or hospital or been evicted from a FACS Housing property.
Inner city rough sleeping represents approximately 4% of homelessness in New South Wales, which increased overall by 37% from 2011 – 2016. The recent increase in the Street Count may be an indication of further increases across NSW.
To stop these increases, we need commitment and action to invest in social and affordable housing. There is a shortfall of approximately 140,000 social housing properties in NSW and to stop homelessness continuing to increase we need investment in social housing of at least an additional 5,000 social housing dwellings every year for the next 10 years.
· - February 2019 City of Sydney
Street Count found that there were 373 people sleeping rough and crisis
accommodation services were 90% full.
- This was an increase of 13% from February 2018
- There are 60,000 families on the social housing waiting list in NSW
- Less than 1% of private rentals are affordable for people on low incomes in greater Sydney (Anglicare Private Rental Snapshot April 2018)
- Homelessness in NSW increased by 37% between 2011 – 2016 with over 37,700 people experiencing homelessness on any night
Contact: Katherine McKernan CEO Homelessness NSW 0425 288 446