Taking action to end rough sleeping during Connections Week

Published on 13 November 2020

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Byron Shire is the first area in NSW, outside Sydney, to pilot an internationally-renowned project aimed at drastically reducing and hopefully ending rough sleeping – and action kicks off next week during Connections Week (16 – 20 November, 2020). 

“We are really excited to be the first area outside Sydney to take action using this approach, which is also part of the NSW Premier’s Priority Commitment to reduce rough sleeping by 50% by 2025 and end rough sleeping by 2030 – that is a target we have made for the Byron Shire now too,” Council’s Director Corporate and Community Services, Vanessa Adams said.

Connections Week sees local community organisations and government agencies come together to collect the stories and understand the needs of people sleeping rough in our community.

“During Connections Week, trained local volunteers and community workers go out to where people are sleeping rough and connect with them to conduct surveys and understand which types of support could enable people to transition out of homelessness – that is our goal,” Ms Adams said.

“The idea is that rather than counting people who are sleeping rough, as we have done in the past through the Street Count, we will be taking it a step further.

“We will be inviting  people sleeping rough to talk with us and share their story and carefully recording the information - and this only needs to be done once.

“This evidence–based approach  has been a successful method of helping people in need to move out of homeless successfully, and permanently,” she said.

From the information and personal stories collected a By-Name List is created. This is a real-time database of all people sleeping rough in the Byron Shire community.

This information helps the individuals sleeping rough when it is used by local services to better coordinate support services.

“In the bigger picture, data patterns and trends inform policy innovation and systems change so our community can work together toward ending rough sleeping,” Ms Adams said.

For more information see Council’s website.

For further details about the project contact Vanessa Adams on 6626 7234.

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