For the first time, the NSW Government and non-government organisations are joining forces to conduct street counts of people sleeping rough in almost 300 locations across the state.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said staff from the Department of Communities and Justice were working with homelessness services, community housing providers and local councils to undertake the counts.
“Our Government has committed to halving street sleeping by 2025 and this street count is an important step as we work towards this ambitious target,” Mr Ward said.
“We are putting together the most complete and up-to-date picture possible of the number of people sleeping rough and where we can have the greatest impact.
“These street counts will help foster local collaboration to end street sleeping and inform local approaches to prevention, housing options and post-crisis support.”
The first phase of street counts in February 2020 will provide data for most of the state, with a second phase in April 2020 in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern NSW.
CEO of Mission Australia James Toomey said the street count would provide Government and non-government organisations with important data that will help them tackle rough sleeping.
“We need to focus on the things we know work that have an evidence base behind them and by doing that in collaboration we can end street homelessness,” Mr Toomey said.
The Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to halving street sleeping across NSW by 2025 as part of its Premier’s Priorities.
NSW is part of a global movement to end street sleeping, with the Premier signing the Act to End Street Sleeping Agreement in February 2019 with the Institute of Global Homelessness, the City of Sydney and several non-government organisations.