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Homelessness

Homelessness

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.

Homeless Persons Information Centre

The City established a Homeless Persons Information Centre (HPIC) in 1985.

HPIC is a state-wide, telephone-based information and referral service. It answers between 60-75,000 calls each year from the approximately 16,000 individuals and families who may become or are already experiencing homelessness. HPIC provides direct referrals to crisis accommodation and other support services such as Centrelink, legal services and providers of material assistance.

Individuals and families who contact the centre needing short-term assistance to stop them becoming homeless are referred to our brokerage program (details, right).

HPIC maintains an up-to-date register of more than 4,000 services across NSW.

Service providers: Please contact us to update information about your service if the details change. New services are also encouraged to contact HPIC so we have your details on hand.

Outreach services

Way2Home Neami is an outreach program focused on helping rough sleepers to move off the streets and into long-term housing with support. Way2Home makes contact with people who are living on the street and offers support during every step as they help them move into independent living. This group works closely with the Way2Home homeless health outreach team, operated by St Vincent’s Hospital, made up of mental health, drug and alcohol specialists with links to a range of allied health services.

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. Referrals to the Homeless Brokerage Program can be made by contacting the Homeless Persons Information Centre.

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.

Contacts

Urgent assistance is available for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The centre operates from 9am to 10pm, 7 days per week. It is closed from 1pm to 2pm daily.

02 9265 9087
1800 234 566 (from outside Sydney)
02 9265 9639

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 liasion officers

The City employs 2 public space liasion 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.

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

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.

90 Homes for 90 Lives

The Homelessness Unit works in partnership with a diversity of partnerships across the non-government, corporate and philanthropic sectors in everything that we do.  The 90 Homes for 90 Lives Project is a collaborative project that was established by a group of partners to focus on supporting efforts to reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough in Woolloomooloo where one of NSWs’ highest concentrations of rough sleepers is located.  90/90 is a partnership between the City of Sydney, United Way, UBS Bank, the Freehills Foundation, Colliers International, Way2Home and Bridge Housing.

Complex Needs Coordination Project

The Complex Needs Coordination Project was a collaborative project that was implemented over 3 years and was completed in November 2010. With the City of Sydney and Department of Communities as lead agencies the CNCP partnered with a diverse range of government and non-government partners 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. Meeting times are from 10am to 12pm on:

  • Wednesday 28 May 2014
  • Wednesday 28 August 2014
  • Wednesday 26 November 2014.

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: Monday, 10 March 2014