Accounting for around 6% of the total homelessness population in Victoria, people sleeping rough are among the most vulnerable. Evidence shows that, just as with general homelessness, those sleeping rough are a diverse group. For some, it is their first experience, for others it has been intermittent while cycling through various forms of crisis accommodation, institutions and then back on the streets. A relatively small number have an ongoing and long-term history of sleeping rough.
Regardless of individual circumstances, sleeping rough is extremely difficult, physically and mentally. Many have significant mental health difficulties linked to childhood trauma and victimisation, as well as acute and chronic physical health difficulties. Drug and alcohol problems persist as physical and mental health deteriorate. Premature ageing and premature death are common. People sleeping rough are at heightened risk of violence and being killed.
Rough sleeping is a potent reminder of policy failure and highlights the ongoing urgent need to increase the stock of permanent, safe and affordable housing for all our vulnerable citizens.
Street Count 2018
The count of people sleeping rough in the Port Phillip area is the first Street Count undertaken by the City of Port Phillip. While the City of Melbourne has led the way as the first local government in Victoria to count people sleeping rough in its area, at the time of writing, Port Phillip is Victoria’s second.
Rough Sleeping: ‘the canary in the coalmine’ of failing housing policy
This report documents the experiences of a sample of 59 people who were supported by Launch Housing’s Rough Sleeper Initiative. It is a detailed account of struggle, devastation, chaos and trauma, often exacerbated by structural and systemic failings.