StreetCount records 392 rough sleepers in inner Melbourne

The first joint survey of homelessness conducted by five Melbourne Councils has recorded 392 people sleeping rough across inner Melbourne.

On Tuesday 19 June, more than 400 trained volunteers visited streets, parks and laneways to collect information on people sleeping rough in the 2018 StreetCount.

It was the first joint count undertaken across the cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Stonnington, and Maribyrnong. The City of Melbourne has undertaken the biennial count since 2008, with support from housing and homelessness agency Launch Housing.

The count helps councils to understand rough sleeping, so they can better plan their support, services and work towards long-term solutions to address homelessness.

The 392 people were recorded in the following municipalities

  • Melbourne: 279 people
  • Port Phillip: 65 people
  • Yarra: 29 people
  • Stonnington: 3 people
  • Maribyrnong: 16 people.

The previous count in 2016 recorded 247 rough sleepers in areas totalling 20 per cent of the City of Melbourne. This year, 210 rough sleepers were counted in the same area, representing a 15 per cent decrease in rough sleepers between 2016 and 2018.

Key findings across the five municipalities 

  • 78 per cent were male, and 22 per cent were female
  • 54 per cent of people were aged 26-40, with 34 per cent aged 41-60
  • 79 per cent were Australian born
  • 14 per cent identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • 35 per cent of people were sleeping on the street, 13 per cent in parks and 48 per cent in various other locations including river banks
  • 42 per cent of people surveyed were on the public housing waiting list
  • 14 per cent of people surveyed had been transient for more than five years.

Acting CEO of Launch Housing, Heather Holst said: “Launch Housing is proud to collaborate with the five councils, police and other support services in Melbourne for this first multi-council StreetCount. While these numbers demonstrate a shocking state of affairs, unfortunately we are not surprised.

“Rough sleeping is the most visible and confronting type of homelessness, but only represents a small percentage of all those experiencing homelessness. These StreetCount results demonstrate the dire need for more affordable housing both in Victoria and Australia-wide, and the numbers give us something to work with as we plan for the future. Some efforts are already starting to pay off, but we need more housing,” said Heather Holst, Acting CEO of Launch Housing.”