Creating connections is key to ending rough sleeping

The End Street Sleeping Collaboration Connections Week will run between 16 and 20 November.. Photo s p a c e.

Aslan Shand

The rough sleeping count has been conducted across Byron Shire annually for several years and has consistently highlighted that Byron Shire has the highest number of rough sleepers per capita outside of Sydney.

No Fixed Abode gives a voice and face to the many homeless people in Byron Shire. Photo supplied.

On the back of these numbers an important community initiative is getting under way next week to connect with rough sleepers and look at the help and assistance they need. The End Street Sleeping Collaboration Connections Week will run between 16 and 20 November.

‘We were flagged because our street count was so high,’ Cherie Bromley who is the Community Programs Manager at the Byron Community Centre told Echonetdaily.

Being homeless can be dangerous on the streets of Byron.

‘We’ve got a big demographic of rough sleepers so this is an opportunity to find out about their needs, history, how they came to be here, challenges, barriers to ending rough sleeping and what they have tried to do before that has either worked or not.’

The initiative is being run by a collaboration of Byron Shire Council, Social Futures, regional NGOs and the End Street Sleeping Collaboration. It follows a similar, successful survey conducted in Sydney in November 2019.

During Connections week trained volunteers and workers will connect with rough sleepers and conduct voluntary interviews with them about their situations and their lives. The aim is to establish a By Name List – a comprehensive database of rough sleeping in Byron Shire. The survey follows a similar count held in Sydney in November 2019 by the End Street Sleeping Collaboration (ESSC), a collection of leading NGOs and Sydney Council.

‘There will be up to 50 people, both paid workers and volunteers working on this. Byron Shire Council have put on some extra hours to facilitate the process,’ said Ms Bromley.

The Byron Community Centre have are proposing a project around helping vulnerable and homeless women. Photo supplied.

‘Since the COVID crisis we have been supplying rough sleepers with mobile phones, advocating to Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), buying tents and paying for camping sites as well as helping people with taxis fares to Ballina so they can access temporary accommodation. There is no temporary accommodation in Byron Shire.

‘We hope to have the DCJ available for crisis response work during the coming week to assist.’

While Byron Shire has a reputation for affluence Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has pointed out that it is also ‘home to some of the most vulnerable members of our community – and many are sleeping rough.’

‘This survey puts people at the centre and works to build a complete picture of rough sleeping, which is vital in informing Government policy and supporting services like ours to bring people out of homelessness,’ Mr Davies said.

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7 responses to “Creating connections is key to ending rough sleeping”

  1. Ida Wilson says:

    Here’s a hint for government policy. Stop aiding and abetting the banking/realestate mafia through FAKE and toothless Royal Commissions into their crimes, and stop directly assisting the banking crimes by upholding court orders made in absence of the whistleblowers of the banking criminals, and investigate reports of banking crime when those reports are made to you, ASIC and police. That alone, would curb homelessness greatly.
    But ofcourse I am an idealist, and this world is run by the currupt.

  2. Nada says:

    just wondering where the project/survey leaves the marginally “luckier” person who’s sleeping in their car, because that’s what home means to them: constantly awaiting that knock on the window at night, police or ranger moving on the less fortunate residents.
    meanwhile the mansion stays empty – unless air bnb booms.

  3. Nerida says:

    Hate to burst bubbles. Whose fault is it when one is homeless?

    • WOW Nerida,

      REALLY? I mean really, REALLY?

      • How lucky for you not to be a poor single parent who is just two missed-rents away from being homeless.

      • How lucky for you not to be a person with physical and/or mental challenges that keep you on the bread line, and a hair’s breadth away from not sustaining a roof over your own head, and maybe that of your family.

      • How lucky for you that you are not stuck between the rock and the hard place of
      A) having your life and the lives of your children, or maybe even the lives your parents threatened daily with physical violence,
      and B) homelessness.
      (which would you choose Nerida – A or B?
      What’s it going to be Nerida – a broken arm or sleeping in your car?)

      • How lucky for you to have either a good job that keeps you in comfy style that you have made for yourself, or luckier still to sit at home on your butt while someone you married goes out and earns money, or they draw a pension, so you don’t have to anything to do but “eat cake” and finger point.

      • How lucky are you not be to poor pensioner who was scraping by with your beloved spouse until they died, and now you cannot afford the rent on the pension of a single aged person.

      • How lucky for you to be able to sit back and be a keyboard warrior and look down at others.

      • How lucky are you to not even understand these types of hardships, to the point, that you can set your narrow mind down in words for all of us to actually see how unsophisticated and uneducated some people in the 21st century can be.

      I really, REALLY hope you stay so lucky, because I suspect you wouldn’t cope like thousands of other resilient, and often employed, hard working homeless people are.

      There’s an old saying – “This too shall pass” – look it up,
      I REALLY hope this doesn’t happen to you.

      You’d be surprised how close people you might even know, are to homelessness.

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