Homelessness in the Byron Shire

Homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution.  It requires long-term collaboration across agencies, sectors and the community.

Action areas

Working in partnership with government, non-profit organisations, business and the corporate sector we aim to:

  • facilitate people sleeping rough out of homelessness
  • prevent people from becoming entrenched in homelessness
  • apply a compassionate and proactive approach to the management of public spaces

How we’re doing this

We understand our unique role in creating positive change in our community.

We take an active role in creating opportunities for partners to work collaboratively to exchange new information and learn from each other.

Our programs and initiatives

From 16 – 20 November 2020, 73 people sleeping rough participated in a survey across the Byron Shire. The information gathered in the survey assists us to understand the needs of people sleeping rough and coordinate support services.

Connections Week was conducted by our Community Development team in partnership with End Street Sleeping Collaboration and group of local community service providers and volunteers.

We want to make positive changes and prevent people ever having to sleep rough.

Who was surveyed?

  • 77% identified as male.
  • 18% identified as female.
  • 23% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • 44 was the average age.

Some key findings

  • 25% have been sleeping rough for 1 year or less.
  • 21% have been sleeping for rough for 10 years or more.
  • 57% of people had a high level of vulnerability.
  • 21 is the median age when an individual became homeless.

Health

  • 77% have a physical health condition.
  • 38% have dental problems.
  • 21% have foot or skin infections.
  • 18% reported dehydration.

Self-reported causes of homelessness

  • 32% couldn’t find an affordable house.
  • 27% relationship breakdown.
  • 18% family conflict.
  • 18% loss of job or couldn’t find a job.
  • 15% domestic and family violence. 

When asked what people needed to be safe and well, housing was a key theme.

Download the Connections Week Byron Shire infographic(PDF, 352KB)

A full report on the results is available on End Street Sleeping Collaboration’s website

Public spaces can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone including people who experience homelessness.

We encourage responsible behaviour by everyone in our public spaces. We want to make sure that people experiencing disadvantage are not discriminated against and are treated with compassion and respect.

Our Public Space Liaison Officers work with community, local businesses, service providers and people sleeping rough to manage the impacts of homelessness in public spaces. The team also work directly with people sleeping rough to ensure they have access to the support they need.

We convene the Homelessness Interagency in collaboration with local community services. 

Meetings are held monthly.  

The Interagency provides a forum for organisations to collaborate, exchange information and discuss innovative service models that respond to the needs of the community.

If you are interested in joining the Homelessness Interagency mailing list, please subscribe by clicking on the link below. 

Subscribe to the Homelessness Interagency

 

We’re working in collaboration with End Street Sleeping Collaboration, local community service organisations and government agencies to reduce rough sleeping by 50% by 2025.

Our aim is to make positive changes and prevent people from ever having to sleep rough in our community.

We will be using a By Name List – a list of all the people sleeping rough in our community and supporting them to access health and housing services using a coordinated approach. 

The information and data from the By Name List will also be used as evidence to support policy and systems change. 

 

Safe and affordable housing is a basic human right.

Affordable is defined in relation to income. A common benchmark is rent costing no more than 30% of a low or moderate household’s gross income.

We work in partnership with community groups and other levels of government to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the Byron Shire. 

Wallet Card

We have published a Wallet Card that contains useful information for people seeking housing support.

Printed copies of the card are distributed among people sleeping rough and shared with local service providers.

COVID-19 Community Supports Brochure

We have published a brochure that contains useful information for people experiencing homelessness. Printed copies of the brochure are distributed to people sleeping rough and shared with local community services.

The brochure is updated regularly and contains information about where to find help and who to contact for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you would like a copy of the COVID-19 Community Support Brochure or our Wallet Card please email roughsleeping@byron.nsw.gov.au or call us on 02 6626 7000