The number of homeless people sleeping on Sydney’s streets has jumped almost 13 percent in the last year.
Figures released by the City of Sydney this weeks  showed a 12.7 percent increase in the number of people sleeping rough on Sydney’s streets compared to August 2008.
Volunteers participating in the City’s third bi-annual Street Count recorded 399 people sleeping rough in the Sydney CBD and inner city suburbs. This compares with 342 rough sleepers counted during the summer Street Count in February this year, and 354 in last year’s winter count.
The number of rough sleepers includes people sleeping in parks, streets, trains, train stations and in overnight temporary shelters.
The count took place across approximately two thirds of the local government area including Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross, Paddington, Glebe, Surry Hills, Ultimo and Redfern, between 1am and 3am on the morning of Tuesday, August 18. The eastern part of the city recorded the highest number of rough sleepers.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the increase was an alarming indication of the dramatic impact the current economic climate is having on some Sydneysiders.
Our latest homelessness Street Count shows that times have been particularly tough for Sydney’s rough sleepers over the cold winter months, with the effects of the global financial crisis hitting Sydney’s homeless hard, Moore said.
The Street Count was conducted by 167 volunteers including a group of advisers who are currently or formerly homeless.
The Street Count figures come just weeks after the City’s Homeless Persons Information Centre (HPIC) released its 2008/09 data, reporting a total of 66,610 calls in the 12-month period -“ a record in 25 years of operation and over 13,000 more calls than in the previous year.
Moore said the Street Count and HPIC figures are a clear message that more needs to be done to support Sydney’s homeless, particularly as economic pressures and extreme stress in the housing market continues.
The City has a commitment to ending chronic homelessness in Sydney by 2017, and the bi-annual Street Count provides an important indicator of the extent of the problem. This week’s figures suggest that more than ever, we must do all we can to support those in need, she said.

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