Homelessness outreach program awarded
A homelessness outreach program has netted Inner West Council the Community Partnerships and Collaboration Award at the New South Wales Local Government Excellence Awards.
Mayor, Darcy Byrne, said, “I congratulate Council staff for winning this award and for the great work they are doing in combatting homelessness in the Inner West.
“Homelessness is a significant and growing issue in the community and takes many forms including sleeping rough, couch surfing and staying in unstable or overcrowded accommodation.
“We know the drivers of homelessness include a shortage of stable and affordable housing, family violence, long-term unemployment, family breakdown, mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse.
“That’s why this multi-agency work is so necessary and so successful – because they are taking a really layered, nuanced, multi-pronged approach.”
The outreach program is a collaboration between Inner West Council and a range of homelessness services and state government agencies.
These include Department of Family and Community Services (Housing), Sydney Local Health District, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, Missionbeat, Wesley Mission, Youth Off The Streets, NEAMI Way to Home, Launchpad and The Exodus Foundation.
Initiatives of the outreach program include:
Multi-agency outreach teams who walk the streets and parks of the Inner West, mostly around Ashfield and Newtown, and have helped dozens of people to move into their own home.
An annual Homelessness Street Count. Council has coordinated the count annually since 2016. That year, 23 people were recorded. This year, 30 people were counted rough-sleeping, while an estimated 66 people were staying in temporary and crisis accommodation in the Inner West.
The Newtopian Outreachers Project, part-funded by Inner West Council, which consists of 20 trained ‘Newtopians’ who provide housing and service-related information to rough sleepers.
Two videos (innerwest.nsw.gov.au/live/community-well-being/homelessness) that increase community awareness about homelessness, and encourage residents to contact Missionbeat if they observe anyone sleeping rough who requires assistance.