Sleeping rough this winter in Melbourne

For most Melbournians winter is a time for rugging up and finding ways to stay warm and dry. However, spare a thought this June for Melbournians experiencing homelessness who are shivering through a cold night sleeping rough on the street.

For Victorians sleeping rough, trying to stay warm during this frosty winter poses extra challenges with Melbourne recently recording the coldest start to winter since 1982.

“It’s tough for people sleeping out on the streets. It’s a brutal time of year. ” – Launch Housing outreach worker.

Research shows that experiencing homelessness in cold weather increases the chances of developing or worsening long term health issues as well as further contributing to poor long term health outcomes. Many people experiencing homelessness during colder weather often face adverse challenges which can negatively impact their physical health and mental health.1

“There is a strong link between sleeping rough and chronic health issues. Our main goal is to find housing for people and it’s tough because there is a shortage.” – Launch Housing outreach worker.

Launch Housing Outreach Teams

Launch Housing’s outreach teams provide a joint housing and health response with support for people sleeping rough in City of Melbourne, City of Yarra, City of Stonington and City of Port Phillip. For teams supporting people in Melbourne’s CBD this includes qualified support workers and registered nurses. Teams receive notification from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding extreme weather events.

Outreach teams also partner with local councils to keep people warm. A special fund is available to provide emergency accommodation during extreme weather events as well as coffee vouchers to provide short respite from harsh weather conditions.

For those who are known to frequent locations close to the river bank Launch Housing’s outreach teams try to give them a warning in advance of extreme weather.

How can you help?

For community members who are concerned about rough sleepers our outreach teams take referrals from the public so if you do see people sleeping rough call 8598 1170 and we’ll visit their location within 24 hours.


Spare a thought this winter for Melbournians experiencing homelessness. Donate to Launch Housing today.



1. Cusack, Lynette; van Loon, Antonia; Kralik, Debbie; Arbon, Paul and Gilbert, Sandy. Extreme weather-related health needs of people who are homeless [online]. Australian Journal of Primary Health, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2013: 250-255.

Availability: <;dn=481087240930342;res=IELHEA> ISSN: 1448-7527. [cited 25 Jun 18].