Under the jurisdiction of Dept of Housing, the Homeless Protocol is a State Government guide for 10 government departments outlining how to deal with Homeless people…


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Sydney City Councils official Foodvan Policy  

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July 2007


Underlying principles of the


The Protocol is based on the following


• All people have a right to be in public
places, at the same time respecting the
right of local communities to live in a safe
and peaceful environment
• All people have a right to participate in
public activities or events
People will not be harassed or moved on
from public places unless there is a threat
to general security, their personal safety
or if they are causing a disturbance which
constitutes a breach of the peace
People who work in areas where their
responsibilities are likely to bring them
into contact with homeless people will
receive sufficient information to enable
them to assist homeless people if
required, or help homeless people make
contact with appropriate services if


The Protocol has been endorsed by 10
NSW Government agencies whose staff
come into contact with homeless people
during the course of their business.


Where the Protocol applies


The Protocol applies only to public places
such as parks and open spaces ordinarily
accessible to the public. It does not apply
to private property, or property which is
not generally accessible to the public. It
also does not prevent agencies from
taking appropriate action where health or
safety is at risk, or a breach of the peace,
or unlawful behaviour has occurred.


What is the Protocol?


The Protocol for Homeless People in
Public Places (the Protocol) was
introduced in 2000 to guide State
Government officials about to how to
relate to homeless people in public
The New South Wales Government
introduced the Protocol to help ensure
that homeless people are treated
appropriately and receive services if they
need, or request them. It is an important
element in the Government’s strategy for
preventing homelessness and responding
effectively when it occurs.


The Protocol


The Protocol states that a homeless
person should be left alone unless:


• they request assistance
• they appear to be distressed or in need
of assistance
• their behaviour threatens their safety or
the safety and security of people around
• their behaviour is likely to result in
damage to property or the environment.


If homeless people require assistance you
can where possible:


• involve services directly
• provide advice or information on available
• provide a contact point that the homeless
person can either call or go to for further
advice or help.


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Agencies which have an operational
presence in public places or which
provide a service to assist homeless
people have endorsed the Protocol:
• Department of Community Services
• Department of Housing
• National Parks and Wildlife Service
• NSW Health
• NSW Police Force
• Royal Botanic Gardens and
Domain Trust
• Rail Corporation NSW
• State Transit Authority
• Sydney Harbour Foreshore
• Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Each agency covered by the Protocol
is implementing it within its own
business and will determine how it
should be implemented by contract
staff such as security officers.
Agencies will deal with complaints
about the application of the Protocol
through their existing complaints





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Useful contact telephone numbers which
can be given to homeless people or
which can be contacted for further advice
or assistance are listed below:


Homeless Persons Information
Centre 1800 234 566


9.00am to 10.00pm – 7 days a week
This is a telephone information service for
people who are homeless or at risk of


Inner-City Homelessness Outreach
and Support Service (I-CHOSS)


1800 505 501


7.00am to 10.30pm Monday to Friday
9.00am to 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday
This is an outreach and support service
for people who are homeless within the
City of Sydney local government area.


Missionbeat 1300 306 461


9.00am to 11.00pm
Missionbeat patrols Inner Sydney streets,
seeking those in distress and need.


NSW Department of Housing
After Hours Temporary
Accommodation Line 1800 152 152


4.30pm to 10.00pm Monday to Friday
10.00am to 10.00pm Saturday, Sunday
and Public Holidays
This is a statewide service that provides
temporary accommodation outside
normal office hours for homeless people.
Clients are offered one or a small number
of nights accommodation and are
required to visit a Department of Housing
local office at the first available time to
discuss long-term accommodation




Protocol for Homeless People


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24 hour services


NSW Department of Housing
Housing Contact Centre


1800 629 212 (freecall)


Provides 24 hour/7 days a week contact
service for the Department’s clients


Department of Community Services
Helpline 133 627


This service is available for reporting child
abuse, neglect or risk of harm.


Domestic Violence Line


1800 656 463


This statewide freecall line provides
telephone counselling, information and


Lifeline 131 114


This counselling service takes calls from
people needing emotional support.


Rape Crisis Centre 9819 6565


9181 4349 (TTY)


This is a statewide telephone and online
crisis, support and referral service for
anyone who has experienced sexual


Salvo Crisis Centre 9360 3000


Trained counsellors are available 24 hours
a day for people facing a crisis in their


Youth Emergency Accommodation
Line 9318 1531


This is a recorded message and service
helpline for young people who are
homeless or at risk of homelessness.


For further information contact:


Homelessness Unit,
NSW Department of Housing
(02) 8753 8487
by post
NSW Department of Housing
Locked Bag 4001
Ashfield NSW 1800
or go to


Useful contact numbers


Protocol for Homeless People