Street count

A key part of addressing homelessness

We are now calling for volunteers to help with the February 2018 street count of people who are sleeping rough in the local area.

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Street counts aim to collect accurate and up-to-date information about the number of people sleeping rough in the local area. People occupying beds in temporary shelters and homelessness hostels are also counted.

People living in boarding houses, staying with friends or living in other forms of non-secure housing are not counted. No information regarding the specific location of rough sleepers is published.

Two street counts take place in February and August every year, between the hours of 1am and 3am. Each count relies on the goodwill and participation of more than 150 volunteers.

The City of Sydney actively seeks the advice of people who are currently homeless or have experienced homelessness in the past. To date the City has worked with 50 different individuals with lived experience of homelessness to advise and assist us in the implementation of  multiple street counts.

Street counts assist the City’s homelessness unit to develop responses to homelessness according to need. Results are regularly used to advocate to state and federal governments, along with potential partners, for the resources necessary to achieve enduring solutions to homelessness.  

A key part of the City’s homelessness strategy, the street counts also help to monitor the progress of the City and its partners in reducing the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in the local area.

Counting the numbers of people experiencing primary homelessness is only 1 method of collecting data but it is an important one.

Volunteer registrations open about 6 weeks prior to the count. Please contact the City’s homelessness unit for more information.

The results of recent street counts are available in the table below. The street count volunteer manual is also available to download below.


Homelessness Project Coordinator02 9265 9667

Street counts

Twice a year we count rough sleepers to gauge our progress towards reducing homelessness in the City of Sydney's local area. These tables show results of recent counts, which covered about two-thirds of the local area. Approximately 180 volunteers, including 18 advisors, participated in each street count.

Date Rough sleepers Occupied hostel beds
February 2010 418 470
August 2010 289 541
February 2011 363 477
August 2011 307 448
February 2012 310 451
August 2012 246 456
February 2013 274 463
August 2013 255 471
February 2014 346 446
August 2014 296 421
February 2015 365 462
August 2015 352 476
February 2016 486 404
August 2016 394 417
Date People sleeping rough Occupied crisis and temporary accommodation beds Occupied hospital beds
February 2017
August 2017

The methods we use to conduct the street count have been adapted and refined in consultation with people with lived experience of homelessness to ensure sensitivity and accuracy.

The August 2017 result represents a 10% decrease on the February 2017 count of 433 people sleeping rough and a 2% decrease on the 2016 winter count.  There is a significant increase in the number of people staying in temporary and crisis accommodation (111 more than in February 2017).  

There were 600 people staying in temporary and crisis accommodation on the night of the count. This includes 438 people in crisis services and 162 people in temporary accommodation. Crisis accommodation was at 86% capacity on the night of the count (438 of 507 places available).

Downloads Document Downloads
Volunteer manual PDF 1.6 MB Download

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Last updated: Friday, 12 January 2018