National Homelessness Week starts today (2 August) and Byron Shire Council is joining the call for more action from all levels of government.
“Homelessness is an ongoing issue for us in the Byron Shire, with street counts in NSW revealing that the numbers of people rough sleeping are second only to the City of Sydney. And we know that’s only the people we can see, and that the real homelessness picture includes all those who are living in cars or couch surfing or in emergency shelters,” Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said.
“More than 116,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night in Australia, according to the organisers of Homelessness Week, Mission Australia – and that is absolutely heartbreaking,” Mayor Lyon said.
“These huge numbers are not okay and this is why the End Rough Sleeping Byron Shire project was initiated last year, why we’ve stepped up our resourcing and action to directly assist people sleeping rough and our community’s most vulnerable people.
“We do this on the ground through our experienced Public Space Liaison officers, and behind the scenes as we work with the service providers who help those sleeping rough to transition into accommodation for the long-term,” he said.
“Responding to homelessness is a priority for us – and we know that a lack of affordable housing is one of the main causes of homelessness for people in our Shire.
“We are working on housing initiatives and models and ways to deliver more affordable housing as well as addressing the impacts of short term holiday letting on our permanent rental supply,” Mayor Lyon said.