Homelessness

Homelessness

Wentworth Park

The City of Sydney is not moving rough sleepers out of Wentworth Park and we have no plans to do so. Following complaints last year about deliberately lit fires and unauthorised camping at Wentworth Park the City issued warnings to a group of rough sleepers about keeping the area tidy.

We have been working with rough sleepers in Wentworth Park since last winter to connect them with appropriate services and help them to find accommodation. City staff have:

  • made 97 referrals to support providers
  • sent 12 letters to Housing NSW in support of applications for housing for individuals and/or couples
  • provided 4 reports to Department of Family and Community Services – Child Protection Services about children sleeping rough or pregnancies
  • assisted 5 rough sleepers to take up employment opportunities including providing references and/or contact details for employers
  • housed 7 rough sleepers from the area and offered 2 more housing, which they declined
  • offered 4 New Zealanders who are not eligible for services in Australia assistance to return home, which they declined.  

Recently, more items have built up in the area, including over 20 tents, deck chairs, tables, a barbecue and a fridge.

There are also reports some rough sleepers are lighting fires and cooking inside the tents. The City has been working with the rough sleepers to clean up the area and remove some of the items.

City staff along with specialist homelessness service workers, have been meeting regularly with the rough sleepers to negotiate a solution to the issue and the fire risk. 

The outcome is that each person will limit their belongings to bedding and 2 bags.

The City has committed $4.2 million over the next 3 years to help fund outreach services, support for young people, and Connect 100, which will provide housing for people experiencing homelessness in the inner city.

The City is the only council in NSW with a dedicated homelessness unit. We fund a number of services and outreach programs including Way2Home, which has housed over 200 people since 2010.

We support the NSW Government’s Protocol for People in Public Places, which promotes the rights of people who are experiencing homelessness to access public spaces without the risk of discrimination.

We also need to encourage responsible behaviour by all people in our public spaces while ensuring that disadvantaged people are not discriminated against and are treated with compassion and respect.

Helping end long-term homelessness

Homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution. The City of Sydney has several major projects that aim to bring an end to long-term homelessness whilst acting to assist people in immediate situations of crisis and prevent people from falling into homelessness in the first place.

From a strategic point of view, we want to end long-term homelessness in Sydney by 2017. Working in partnership with government, non-profit philanthropic organisations and the corporate sector, the City aims to:

  • facilitate rough sleepers out of homelessness
  • prevent people from becoming entrenched in homeless in the inner-city
  • help avoid homelessness in other regions
  • make sure those who do become homeless are assisted out of homelessness quickly
  • enact a compassionate and proactive approach to the management of public space.

You can download the City's Homelessness Strategy in full below.

Homelessness Brokerage Program

The Homeless Brokerage Program focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless or helping them to quickly exit homelessness by providing some of the following services:

  • short-term accommdation with support
  • assistance with rental or other arrears
  • referrals to housing and other forms of secure housing
  • transport and storage assistance
  • other forms of support to prevent people from falling into homelessness or becoming entrenched in crisis.

The Brokerage Program is provided by the YWCA NSW under contract to the City and with funding from Housing NSW. While the program's focus is on central Sydney, it assists clients from across the metropolitan area to prevent the migration of people into the inner city. 

You can also view the brokerage evaluation and data report.

Street count

The City counts people sleeping rough on the streets in summer and winter each year to measure the effectiveness of its homelessness programs and to track trends in numbers.

Link2Home

Link2Home is the NSW Government's service that provides referrals to accommodation for people in immediate need. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

1800 152 152

Contacts

If you would like more information about the City's homelessness projects or the issues facing people who are homeless, please get in touch.

02 9265 9667
02 9246 7676
 

Homelessness and public space

The City aims to ensure that public space in our City can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone including people who are homeless. The City encourages responsible behaviour by all people in our public spaces whilst acting to ensure that disadvantaged people are not discriminated against and are treated with compassion and respect.

Public space liaison officers

The City employs 2 public space liaison officers who have the role of working with City Business Units, service providers and other external stakeholders to manage the impacts of homelessness in the public domain whilst ensuring that vulnerable people have access to the support that they need.

Street drinking strategy

The Street Drinking Strategy seeks to provide a holistic, consistent and coordinated response to address the impact street drinking can have on individuals and the community. 

In this Strategy, street drinking refers to drinking in public places by people who may be alcohol dependent, homeless, marginally housed or otherwise socially disadvantaged. 

Other forms of street drinking such as drinking activity outside licensed premises are not addressed through this strategy.

The strategy is available to download at the end of this page.

Mobile free food services policy

The mobile free food services policy and voluntary accord aims to coordinate the activities of these many groups that are operating within in the local area and to ensure that they are aware of each other.

Partnership and collaboration

The City of Sydney works in partnership with homelessness and allied services. Collaboration between all those who have a commitment to resolving issues of homelessness and disadvantage is essential to the goal of ending long term homelessness. The City takes an active role in creating opportunities for partners to work collaboratively or to come together to exchange new information and learn from each other.

Some of our collaborations include:

Woolloomooloo Integrated Services Hub (WISH)

The WISH brings over 20 different organisations together in in the same place on a monthly basis with the objective of providing coordinated service delivery, focused on outcomes, to facilitate people’s pathway out of homelessness.

Outreach services

As part of its commitment to help the most vulnerable people in our community, the City also works closely with the following organisations and services.

  • Neami: Provider of the Way2Home program that helps address the needs of the chronically homeless as well as the Inner City Assertive Outreach and Case Coordination for Vulnerable and Complex Clients, focused on rough sleepers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing homelessness.
  • Connect 100: A program that at any given time will help 100 people experiencing homelessness find affordable housing.
  • Inner City Sydney Homelessness Prevention and Support Service for Young People: Delivered by Launchpad, in partnership with the Ted Noffs Foundation and Weave Youth and Community Services.
  • 90 Homes for 90 Lives: Aims to reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough in Woolloomooloo, where one of NSWs’ highest concentrations of rough sleepers is located.  
  • Complex Need Coordination Project: A diverse range of government and non-government organisations worked to focus on housing and supporting those people who had been homeless for a long period of time and who had multiple and complex needs.

Homelessness Interagency meetings

The City coordinates quarterly interagency meetings that attract service practitioners and volunteers from across the homelessness and allied services sector. 

The meetings aim to provide practitioners with access to speakers on related topics and the opportunity to share information and network with each other.

Each meeting is themed around a particular topic or issue of interest and guests speakers regularly attend.

Meetings are generally attended by 30 to 60 people depending on the theme. Consumers are welcome.

Meetings are held on level 4, Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street.

Affordable housing

Safe and affordable housing is a basic human right. It is also fundamental to an inclusive, dynamic and sustainable city.

'Affordable' is defined in relation to income. A common benchmark sees rent costing no more than 30% of a low or moderate household’s gross income.

The City is working in partnership with community groups and other levels of government to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in inner Sydney.

Volunteer and goods donation directory

There are many organisations in the local area committed to helping people experiencing homelessness.

View the volunteer and goods donation directory if you would like to offer your time or some non-perishable items to one of these groups.

Last updated: Wednesday, 20 May 2015