Homelessness in the Byron Shire

Many Australians are at risk of experiencing homelessness or sleeping rough and the Byron Shire is no exception.  Housing in the Shire is amongst the least affordable in Australia.  Limited emergency and temporary accommodation, coupled with very few social housing options are a problem in the Shire.

Council acknowledges that access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights and works in collaboration with local services and the community to address homelessness and its impacts across the Shire.  

If you have concerns about someone rough sleeping or would like further information please contact Council's Project Officer (Rough Sleeping) roughsleeping@byron.nsw.gov.au

On this page you will find information about:

Council has published a brochure that contains useful information for people experiencing homelessness. Printed copies of the brochure will be distributed to rough sleepers 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. 

Download the COVID-19 Pandemic Community Supports and Contacts Brochure(PDF, 1MB)   

 

The objective of the Homelessness Policy is to strengthen Council's role in partnerships to address homelessness. 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 NSW Government introduced the Protocol for homeless people in public places to help ensure that homeless people are treated respectfully and appropriately and are not discriminated against on the basis of their homeless status.

Council's most recent street count, conducted in August 2019,  found that 171 people were sleeping rough in three key hot spots: Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby. This was an 18 per cent increase from 145 people in August 2018 in the same areas. 

These results are used to advocate for local assertive outreach services and develop appropriate long-term housing solutions in the Byron Shire. 

As of February 2020 street counts will be conducted by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)

 

Council aims to ensure that public space in our Shire can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone including people who are homeless. Council encourages responsible behaviour by all people in our public spaces while acting to ensure that disadvantaged people are not discriminated against and are treated with compassion and respect.

Council employs two Public Space Liaison Officers who have the role of working with community, local businesses, service providers and rough sleepers to manage the impacts of homelessness in the public spaces while ensuring that vulnerable people have access to the support that they need.

A group of services and agencies operating in the 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 Homelessness Interagency is held on the second Wednesday of each month from 10am to 11.30am.

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

Subscribe to the Homelessness Interagency

 

Council 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 the Housing Supports and Contacts Wallet Card(PDF, 181KB)