Fall in rough sleepers
The number of rough sleepers in the CBD appears to have dropped in the latest homelessness StreetCount.
Every two years the City of Melbourne, with the help of homelessness agency Launch Housing, counts the number of people sleeping on the streets of Melbourne.
In 2016 it counted 247 rough sleepers within an area comprising predominantly the CBD, while this year’s figure in the same boundary fell to 210, representing a 15 per cent drop.
The overall 2018 count (held on the morning of June 19) for the first time included a much larger surveyed area. As such, the overall figure of rough sleepers rose to 392.
Launch Housing CEO Heather Holst said the numbers were alarming.
“While these numbers demonstrate a shocking state of affairs, unfortunately we are not surprised,” she said.
“Rough sleeping is the most visible and confronting type of homelessness, but only represents a small percentage of all those experiencing homelessness.”
The results also revealed that 42 per cent of all rough sleepers were on the public housing waiting list, a service Ms Holst said was obviously essential to breaking the homelessness cycle.
“These StreetCount results demonstrate the dire need for more affordable housing both in Victoria and Australia-wide, and the numbers give us something to work with as we plan for the future. Some efforts are already starting to pay off, but we need more housing,” she said.
This year, the City of Melbourne was just one of five councils involved in the count, which helps councils better grasp homelessness issues and plan relevant support services.
The overall figure determined from the June 19 survey found 392 rough sleepers in the cities of Melbourne (279 people), Port Phillip (65), Yarra (29), Maribyrnong (16) and Stonnington (3).
More than 400 trained volunteers visited streets, parks and laneways in the municipalities between 3am and 3pm on the day.
Men made up most of those counted (78 per cent) while more than half were aged 26-40.