Tent City in Sydney

The City of Sydney has urged the New South Wales Government to continue the temporary accommodation effort introduced in 2021, including extra funding and support services, in order to reduce the number of homeless people on city streets.

The Council’s latest summer street count found 225 people sleeping rough on Sydney’s inner-city streets, compared to 272 in February 2021.

Crisis and temporary accommodation beds were at 81 per cent occupancy, 1 per cent lower than at the same time in 2021. 

More than 110 volunteers took to the streets to carry out the street count in the early hours of Tuesday 22 February. They were joined by eight of the City of Sydney’s homelessness advisers – volunteers with lived experience of homelessness.

Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said despite increased effort by the New South Wales Government during the pandemic, it’s clear much more needs to be done.

“When the city went into lockdown, the NSW Government seized the opportunity to house people,” Mayor Moore said.

“People sleeping rough were rushed into temporary accommodation and many were then supported into longer term housing. Many people who aren’t residents, who usually live without government support, were kept safe in emergency accommodation.

“Despite this increase in investment, we still have over 200 people sleeping on city streets each night. We want the significant funding in housing options and additional support services the government made available during the pandemic to remain, to ensure a roof is available for people who would otherwise be on the streets. If not, we will see this figure climb again.

“We also need much more social and affordable housing in our area and a continued focus on how we can work together to prevent people slipping through the cracks.”

While the New South Wales Government is responsible for supporting people who are homeless, City of Sydney is the first local council in Australia to set up a homelessness unit. 

Every day Council’s public space liaison officers walk the streets to help link people sleeping rough with the services they need, investing over $1 million each year in specialist homelessness services.

Recent heavy rain makes life even tougher for people sleeping rough and has shone a light on the urgent need for housing for all.

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