On 3 February, two of our staff – Teagan and Nicole – left their warm beds at 2.30am to take part in this year’s Annual Street Count of people sleeping rough in Newcastle.
Twelve teams visited hot spots from 4am- 6am in order to record numbers of those people sleeping rough in the region. The teams were made up of participants from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), City of Newcastle, community housing providers and non- government organisations. Jenny’s Place staff have joined the early morning count every year since its inception.
The Newcastle teams counted a total of 16 people sleeping rough or suspected to be. In 2020 there were 53 and in 2021 there were 19.
Susan Mullard, DCJ’s Director Commissioning & Planning, Hunter Central Coast District, said: “It is really pleasing to see that we have maintained these lower numbers over the past 12 months. This has certainly been achieved through the hard work of our Newcastle Assertive Outreach team and Specialist Homelessness Services partners.”
Information relating to sites in which people were found to be rough sleeping will be disseminated to relevant local SHS providers and Assertive outreach teams, to ensure that those people are offered an opportunity to engage in support services.
The first Annual NSW Street Count took place across the State in 2019. Data collected from the Street Count is used to inform strategies and responses to homelessness. Reducing homelessness by 50 per cent by 2025 is one of the NSW Premier’s Priorities. The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is the lead agency responsible for delivering this Priority.
Peta Kennedy, DCJ Senior Project Officer Homelessness, said the Premier’s Priority ‘provides a real opportunity to deliver positive, sustainable outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities’.
“DCJ thanks all of those involved in the Street Count for their time and effort in ensuring that the activity was a success and for their ongoing advocacy of people experiencing homelessness across the region” Peta said.
Thank you to Teagan and Nicole, and our Assertive Outreach team, for helping vulnerable people to avoid homelessness and sleeping rough.