The government must lift funding for homelessness services and build more social housing after the annual street count found a 34 per cent rise in rough sleeping, Homelessness NSW said today.
The most recent count of rough sleepers in NSW recorded 1,623 people compared to 1,207 people last year.
Regional areas are particularly affected with Byron Bay, Clarence Valley, Eurobodalla, and Coffs Harbour joining City of Sydney in the five areas with the highest increase.
“In the coldest recorded June in 13 years people are bedding down on streets, in tents and park benches because they don’t have a safe place to call home,” said Homelessness NSW CEO Trina Jones.
“This should not be happening in one of the wealthiest places on Earth.
“The rising cost of living and a dire shortage of affordable rental homes is fuelling a homelessness crisis across NSW.
“Frontline services are so overwhelmed they can only help half the people who present to them and must make heartbreaking decisions about who to turn away.
“We acknowledge the government’s commitment to drive homelessness numbers down and urge it to invest in the programs that work in the September budget.
“We can end street sleeping but we need to invest in what works. The Together Home Program supported over 1,000 people off the streets into safe homes. It’s funded for those currently in the program until next year but doesn’t have the resources to accept new people into the program.
“We are calling on the NSW Government to embed this program in an ongoing way to support people to access a safe home with support to keep it.
“The government must also urgently invest in more social housing which has been allowed to plunge over the past decade to historically low levels with waiting times blowing out to more than 10 years.”
Homelessness NSW is calling on the state government to:
Increase net stock of social housing from 4.7% to 10%
Properly fund homelessness services to meet rising demand
68,500 people were supported by Specialist Homelessness Services in NSW in 2022
NSW currently builds an average 34,000 residential dwellings per year
Approximately 700 - or just 2% are social housing
At the current rate of social housing investment, it will take over 80 years to meet the current demand of the waiting list
Charlie Moore: 0452 606 171