Homelessness

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
  • enjoy public open spaces for activities that do not create an adverse impact on the rights of other users in the community.

The Byron Shire has very limited housing options. There is no emergency or temporary accommodation and very little social housing. Areas in the Shire are among the least affordable in Australia. Byron Bay is the least affordable area on Australia's east coast.  

Table one provides information about the average cost of rent compared to the average household income across four local government areas. The percentage of household income spent on rent is also shown.

Table one: Housing affordability comparison by local government area

Local Government Area

Ave. rent

Ave. household income

Percentage

Byron Bay (Byron)

$590

$1,218

48%

Woollahra (Sydney)

$800

$1,814

44%

Brighton (Melbourne)

$650

$1,532

42%

Eatons Hill (Brisbane)

$510

$1,312

39%

(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 per cent 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 Homelessness Interagency to discuss and implement strategies for preventing, and supporting people who are experiencing homelessness in our Shire. Council supports the organisation of these ongoing meetings. 

The November meeting has been postponed due to fires in the district. Updated meeting details are below. 

Meeting date: Wednesday 4 December

10 am to 11.30 am Cavanbah Centre: 249 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay

If you are interested in joining the Homelessness Interagency, please subscribe using the online form. 

Subscribe

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)