North Coast

Social Futures supports innovative rough sleeping survey for Byron Shire

Social Futures is joining with leading community organisations to make Byron Shire the first regional community in NSW to launch a state-wide project aimed at tackling rough sleeping.

During Connections Week, from November 16-20, a team of trained volunteers will head out into areas in the Shire known for rough sleeping to meet with homeless people to gather information about their needs and better understand their situation.

“Despite its reputation for affluence, Byron Shire is home to some of the most vulnerable members of our community – and many are sleeping rough,” said Social Futures CEO Tony Davies.

“This survey will let us hear directly from rough sleepers, learn their experiences and start to provide the kinds of support that can make an impact,” he said,

The survey follows a similar count held in Sydney in November 2019 by the End Street Sleeping Collaboration (ESSC), a collection of leading NGOs and Sydney Council.

The count aims to build a By Name List – a comprehensive database of people experiencing homelessness that will allow service providers and policymakers to tailor their approaches to local needs.

The questions and methodology used in the survey were established by the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH), which aims to end street homelessness around the world.

Last year NSW became the first state and Sydney the tenth city to sign up to the IGH’s Vanguard City program with a commitment to halve street homelessness across the state by 2025.

”Social Futures has been delivering increased homelessness outreach services in the Northern Rivers as part of the government’s commitment to cut rough sleeping in half,” said Mr Davies.

“This survey puts people at the centre and works to build a complete picture of rough sleeping, which is vital in informing Government policy and supporting services like ours to bring people out of homelessness,” Mr Davies said.