1. Overview

Many Australians are at risk of experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough in our cities and Byron Shire is not an exception.  

Access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights. In our current Homelessness Policy, Council recognises that "all people have a right to housing that meets their individual needs and that all people have a right to enjoy public open spaces for activities that do not create an adverse impact on the rights of other users in the community". 

Statistics show that numbers and rates of people sleeping rough in Byron Shire are .

Byron Shire has very limited housing options, there is no emergency or temporary accommodation, very little social housing, and areas in the Shire are among the most unaffordable in Australia. Byron Bay itself has the the highest unaffordability on Australia's east coast (see below).

 Table 1: Housing unaffordability – comparison data

Local Government Area

Ave. rent

Ave. household income


Byron Bay (Byron)




Woollahra (Sydney)




Brighton (Melbourne)




Eatons Hill (Brisbane)





 (Source: Compass Housing Services, 2018)

We are partnering with local services and our community to address homelessness.  

We know there are many thoughtful and generous people who are concerned about the situation of homeless people in our shire. For more information or to get involved,  email the Rough Sleeping inbox.

2. Street Counts

The annual street counts aim to collect up-to-date information about the number of people sleeping rough in the local area.  Results are used to provide a local snapshot of rough sleeping hotspots, advocate for resources to achieve long-term solutions, and help us track change over time. 

The street count happens in partnership between Byron Community Centre, Mullumbimby District Neighborhood Centre, Social Futures, Momentum, The Family Centre, NSW Health, Byron Shire Council and other members of our community.

The street count of August 2019 found that 171 people are sleeping rough in three hot spots in our Shire. This is an 18% increase from 145 people in August 2018 in the same areas. 

This is not the trend we want to see and we are working together and advocating for local assertive outreach services and supported housing solutions in Byron Shire. 

3. Homelessness Interagency

A group of agencies and services operating in Byron Shire has formed a new Homeless Interagency to discuss and implement strategies for preventing, and supporting people who are experiencing, homelessness in our Shire. Council is supporting the organisation of these ongoing meetings. 

First Meeting Date: Tuesday 15th October

10am - 11.30am Cavanbah Centre: 249 Ewigsdale Road, Byron Bay

If you are interested in joining the Homelessness Interagency click on the subscribe button below.


4. Wallet Card

Council has published a Wallet Card that contains useful information for people seeking housing support. Printed copies of the card will be distributed among homeless people seeking information about where to find help and who to contact in an emergency.   

 Download Emergency Contacts Wallet Card(PDF, 181KB)