The first Street Count in the City of Port Phillip has recorded 91 people sleeping rough in the municipality.
More than 100 trained volunteers canvassed areas across the City of Port Phillip on 7 February to count the number of people sleeping rough between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Additional counts were conducted later in the morning at key homeless assistance services in the municipality to assess people in hard-to-reach areas who could not be engaged in the main count. Those who consented to participate in surveys were individually assessed to enable us to prioritise a service response to those found to be most vulnerable.
The Street Count was conducted by Launch Housing in partnership with the City of Port Phillip, the Victorian Government, Sacred Heart Mission and other community partners including City of Melbourne, Star Health, Alfred Health, St. Kilda Community Housing, Victoria Police, Port Phillip Housing Association, South Port Community Housing, Salvation Army Crisis Services, Ngwala Willumbong Cooperative and Prahran Mission.
“With meaningful data we can better understand the extent of the issue and ensure appropriate programs and responses are in place, as well as make immediate responses to the people found on the night,” said Tony Keenan, CEO of Launch Housing.
“These findings will allow us to coordinate our efforts with local agencies to plan, develop and make decisions about appropriate long-term solutions to homelessness.
“This benchmark year sets the stage for comparative data in the future. The collated information will help us prioritise support to the individuals assessed as most vulnerable, and target allocation of existing resources. At a system level, the data also enables services to better plan for the future.”
Initial findings from the point-in-time 2018 City of Port Phillip Street Count are:
- A total of 91 people were counted as sleeping rough in the City of Port Phillip, comprising 61 men, 18 women, 1 who identified as transgender, and 11 recorded as “unknown”.
- 34 people completed full, in-depth surveys (called VI SPDAT, or Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritisation Decision Assistance Tool); 39 surveys were observational only, meaning no verbal contact and therefore limited recorded data; and the remainder partially completed the surveys. The VI SPDAT is an assessment tool, which helps services identify the most appropriate supports for this most vulnerable group of people.
- Most people were between 25 and 55 years old.
- 72 were single and 1 person had children.
- 18 people, or 19.8% of those counted, identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.
A full analysis will be released in the coming months, including an assessment of not just the extent but the complexity of primary homelessness in the area.
The Street Count will help to investigate the prevalence of primary homelessness within the City of Port Phillip.
It is modelled on the Street to Home Registry Weeks and the StreetCount run by the City of Melbourne, which has completed seven such counts.
Quote attributable to Bernadene Voss, City of Port Phillip Mayor
“As a long-standing local government leader in providing and supporting affordable housing, Port Phillip Council is proud to be part of this important work to help local agencies advocate for people experiencing homelessness. The causes of homelessness are complex and varied and this up-to-the-minute information will be used to assist some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Quote attributable to Housing Minister Martin Foley, Minister for Housing, Ageing & Disability
“No one chooses to be homeless – and we know rough sleeping is a complex issue which is often driven by a number of factors.”
“The Street Count will help us deliver more targeted services so that vulnerable people can get access to safe homes and the right services, sooner.”
“It’s one of a number of ways the Victorian Government is working to break the cycle of homelessness – including establishing new assertive outreach teams and dedicated workers in Melbourne and key regional areas to get people housed quickly.”
“The Street Count further proves how important it is for the Turnbull Government to finalise the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.”
Quote attributable to Cathy Humphrey, CEO of Sacred Heart Mission
“We at Sacred Heart Mission have witnessed a marked increase in the number of people sleeping rough in the City of Port Phillip,” Cathy Humphrey says.
“Rough sleeping can often be a ‘hidden issue’. The Street Count will help us to uncover the true nature of what is taking place in our local area so that we can effectively advocate on behalf of some of society’s most vulnerable people.”
“The data we collect through the Street Count is crucial to ensuring that our programs and services continue to be responsive, adequately resourced and address the unique needs of people sleeping rough in our community.”