Given the 77% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in Sydney’s inner city over the past three years, the NSW Government’s reforms to specialist homelessness services need urgent re-evaluation, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS).
‘The City of Sydney’s Streetcount figures since 2010 show an alarming increase in the number of people sleeping rough between 2013 and 2016, coinciding with the NSW Government’s implementation of the Going Home Staying Home reforms,’ said Louis Schetzer, HPLS Senior Policy Officer.
‘Our analysis shows that while the number of rough sleepers declined steadily from 888 to 702 between February 2010 and August 2012, there was a marked increase from February 2013 to February 2016.
‘This increase is very worrying. The figures indicate that in the inner city, the reforms have failed to deliver an adequate supply of crisis accommodation beds to address this desperate need.
‘The Sydney Registry Week 2015 Report indicates that 53% of homeless people in the City of Sydney have a mental illness, 72% report a substance abuse problem, and 44% being a victim of violence.
‘These figures are consistent with statistics from PIAC’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Service, and show the increasing need for legal and support services for homeless people.
‘We are calling on the NSW Government to urgently develop a strategy to increase the availability of crisis accommodation in the inner city, to address this alarming trend,’ said Louis Schetzer.