Rough sleepers in 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. 

Last updated: Monday, 16 February 2015