Social housing, support ‘can end homelessness’

Bishop Terry Brady leads prayers for the homeless in Sydney

Nobody needs to be sleeping rough in Sydney, according to Graham West, CEO of the End Street Sleeping Collaboration. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

An increase in social housing, rapid interventions at the right time, and “wrap-around” services can keep people off the streets – or get them into housing quickly, he said.

“I think with the right interventions, we have enough resources as a country to make sure nobody’s sleeping on the streets.” 

The End Street Sleeping Collaboration brings together the NSW Government, City of Sydney and other major partners, including CatholicCare and the St Vincent de Paul Society, and is supported by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

It successfully hit the milestone of a 25 per cent reduction in street sleeping in Sydney by 2020 and is aiming for 50 per cent by 2025.

One important tool now used in Sydney is a “by name list”, where the individual histories of rough sleepers are recorded and tracked, helping services co-ordinate and make sure people don’t get forgotten.

“Wrap-around” supports might include medical or mental health services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, assistance with debts, employment assistance, and outreach from the local community.

Most important is an increase in the amount of social housing stock, because a “housing first” approach that intervenes rapidly when a person becomes homeless – within the first day or two – cannot work without available accommodation.


We can end homelessness? (By Adam Wesselinoff, The Catholic Weekly)

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