The NSW Government has signed a global agreement to halve street homelessness across the State by 2025.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward, together with service providers and the City of Sydney, signed the agreement today at NSW Parliament, making Sydney the tenth city to join the fight against street homelessness.
"We are working hard to break the cycle of homelessness with the latest street count showing a significant reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Sydney," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We have already invested $1 billion in funding for homelessness services over four years to break the cycle of homelessness, but we cannot become complacent and by signing this agreement we are pushing ourselves to do even more.
"We know that homelessness is not just a city issue, which is why we have set this target to halve street homelessness across the entire State by 2025.
"Homelessness is a complex social issue that cannot be solved by government alone - that's why we will be inviting the best and brightest from the frontline and from the community to collaborate with us to find new ways of tackling street homelessness."
The 'A Place to Call Home' initiative – founded by the Institute of Global Homelessness – will support homelessness services in Sydney to set goals and strategies to reduce rough sleeping numbers and to measure and track their progress.
Chair of the Institute Dame Louise Casey said 'A Place to Call Home' gives cities a focused way to share knowledge among leaders who might not otherwise learn about each other's work.
"There is an emerging global movement to end homelessness and NSW is leading by example and will help other cities around the world set ambitious, achievable goals to end street homelessness," Ms Casey said.
The City of Sydney last year recorded the lowest number of people sleeping rough in five years - evidence that the NSW Government's record spending and intensive outreach efforts are helping more people facing homelessness to find housing and support.
The NSW Government's assertive street outreach program in Sydney has already housed nearly 300 rough sleepers since May 2017 and 94 per cent have successfully maintained their tenancies for more than 12 months.
Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said the drastic drop in people sleeping rough in Sydney in 2018 showed the Government's focus on prevention and early intervention was working.
"Homelessness is not a simple issue to solve – you cannot simply put a person who has been sleeping on the streets for years into a home and expect it to work – you need to give them the right wraparound support," Ms Goward said.
"Complex mental health and substance abuse issues are often the underlying causes of homelessness which is why we are focusing on early intervention."
The NSW Homelessness Strategy sets the direction for the next five years, focusing on prevention responses that address the root causes of homelessness and early intervention responses that will reduce the longer-term impact of homelessness.
Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said: "The issue of homelessness in NSW needs urgent attention and the setting of this target and signing of this agreement kick starts this vital action."
The following parties have signed the agreement:
- NSW Government
- City of Sydney
- Institute of Global Homelessness
- St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent's Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National, Yfoundations.