8 August, 2013
The number of homeless people sleeping outdoors in inner Sydney has increased slightly since last winter, but the numbers have still shrunk by 25 per cent over the past five years.
Every six months the City of Sydney council does a headcount of the number of people living on the streets.
Between 1am and 3am on Tuesday morning, council staff and volunteers counted 255 people sleeping rough in the city's parks, streets, public areas and trains.
That was less than the 274 people found homeless in February, but was more than the 246 people found sleeping rough in August last year.
Since the first survey in the winter of 2008, the council says the number of homeless people has decreased by just over 25 per cent.
Joanna Wall, from the council's homelessness unit, says the situation got worse before it got better.
"That's a fantastic result. We've actually had, since our highest count in February of 2010, a 39 per cent decrease in the number of people that are sleeping out," Ms Wall said.
She says the reduction shows outreach programs are working.
"In the inner city there are many excellent programs that are run by the government and non-government agencies," Ms Wall said.
"One program, Way2Home which is an assertive outreach service operated by Neami and St Vincents Hospital that is co-funded by the City, has supported 189 people who were previously chronically homeless in the inner city into permanent housing."
Originally published in ABC News