The Central Coast has made a list of the top 10 homelessness hotspots in the state, with the number of homeless in the region rising by 86 during the 2022-23 financial year compared to the previous year.
Fresh analysis by Homelessness NSW shows the areas of the state suffering increased levels of homelessness, sparking calls to better fund services and build more social housing.
The analysis of newly released Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures shows the number of people receiving assistance at specialist homelessness services rising across 58 of NSW’s 128 local government areas in 2023.
On the Central Coast, numbers for 2022-23 were recorded as 1,996 – an 8.6 per cent rise over the previous year’s figure of 1,910 – seeing it place number 10 on the hotspots list.
After peaking at 2,913 in 2018-19, Central Coast numbers gradually declined in subsequent years, with the most recent figures revealing the first rise in numbers since then.
The latest data from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice also reveals lengthening waiting times for social housing across most parts of the state, including on the Central Coast.
“NSW’s housing crisis is putting huge pressure on frontline homelessness services, with many struggling to keep up with rising demand,” Homelessness NSW CEO Dom Rowe said.
“LGAs across metropolitan Sydney and also suburban and rural areas are seeing increased levels of homelessness – showing that plummeting housing affordability is affecting people right across the state.
“Right now, one out of every two people seeking help for homelessness in NSW does not receive it because underfunded services are full.
“It is heartbreaking that women and their children fleeing domestic violence have to choose between staying in a dangerous home or sleeping in a tent or a car because they can’t get the help they need.
“NSW must increase funding for specialist homelessness services, as Queensland has just done with a 20 per cent boost.
“We must also urgently build more social and affordable homes.
“Right now just one in 20 homes are social housing but we need this to be at least one in 10 by 2050 to slash the 57,000-strong, decade-long waitlist and end NSW’s homelessness crisis.
“The NSW government is moving in the right direction on housing, but much more is needed to protect the women and children trapped in violent homes and people sleeping rough or couch surfing.”