Homelessness in the Byron Shire

Homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution.

Working with others we aim to:

  • support people sleeping rough 
  • work towards ending rough sleeping
  • apply a compassionate and proactive approach to the management of public spaces.

Our programs and initiatives

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. It is called the Ending Rough Sleeping Byron Shire Project.

It is a community-initiated collaboration that is supported by the state-wide organisation, the End Street Sleeping Collaboration.

This initiative is also part of the NSW Premier’s Priority Commitment to reduce rough sleeping by 50% by 2025 and end rough sleeping by 2030 – a target now shared by the Byron Shire.

Learn more about the Ending Rough Sleeping Byron Shire Project.  

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.

The Fletcher Street Cottage, located in the heart of Byron Bay is a hub for the Shire's most vulnerable. 

The Cottage is open from Monday to Friday, offering a free daily community breakfast, showers and laundry services, as well as access to health and wellbeing supports.

The Cottage is a welcoming, safe and respectful space where people can come to get help.

Visit the Fletcher Street Cottage website to learn more about their services.

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.

In partnership with community groups and other levels of government, Council is working on a variety of initiatives to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the Byron Shire. 

Visit the Housing affordability initiatives  and Short-term rental accommodation web pages to learn more.

Community supports brochure

We have published a brochure that contains useful information for people experiencing homelessness.

A condensed version has been created as a wallet card.

Printed copies of the brochure and wallet card are distributed to people sleeping rough and shared with local community services.

If you would like a copy of either the community supports brochure or our wallet card, please email roughsleeping@byron.nsw.gov.au or call the Community Development team on 02 6626 7000

Street Counts are conducted annually by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to determine the number of people experiencing homelessness in towns and local government areas throughout NSW.

Gathering accurate data about the number of people experiencing homelessness is essential to deciding where to target resources and support.

At 348 people sleeping rough, the 2024 Byron Shire Street Count reflects a significant increase from 2023 (300 people), 2022 (138 people) and 2021 (198 people). Note: the 2022 count did not include people in Brunswick Heads or Mullumbimby because of extreme weather.  

Visit the NSW Communities & Justice website for more information. Street count | Family & Community Services (nsw.gov.au)