The City of Sydney has released the results of its 2010 Rough Sleepers Count and used those figures to justify a perception that homelessness is decreasing and their programs are working.In contrast to the City of Sydney figures of 289,our latest figures are 648 rough sleepers who have been on the streets for more than a week.

Here are some of the reasons that the Sydney City Council count is hopelessly flawed.

  • The Homeless Rough Sleepers Count is conducted in a two hour night period, 1 am to 3 am.More than half of Sydneys rough sleepers do not camp at night.
  • Due to police destabilising several rough sleeper camps in fortnight after Summer Street Count, many rough sleepers who camp at night hid. We issued a warning and suggested that people not cooperate with the Rough Sleeper Count due to this.
  • There is the additional concern amongst the rough sleeper community that “volunteers” often have ulterior motives  such as their police or NGO agenda’s.
  • In the fortnight prior to the Rough Sleeper count, Police destabilised the biggest homeless camps in Woolloomooloo by systemically harassing the campers with multiple searches per day.People were told “don’t be seen in Sydney City,we don’t want your kind here.”
  • In an election year government departments roll out programs which are temporary in nature in an effort to artificially reduce the presence of Rough Sleepers.2010-2011 is a State and Federal election period.

While the City of Sydney, State and Federal Government are developing capabilities in identifying traditional rough sleepers they are just not across multiple demographics – for example the rather large and close knit Asian Homeless communities.