Street count finds 91 people sleeping rough in City of Port Phillip

The first Street Count in the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne, recorded 91 people sleeping rough in the municipality.

More than 100 trained volunteers canvassed areas across the municipality on Wednesday 7th February to count the number of people sleeping rough between 2am and 6am. Additional counts were conducted later in the morning at key homeless assistance services 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 so we could assist them with housing and services.

Launch Housing conducted the Street  Count  in partnership  with the City of Port Phillip, Victorian Government, Sacred Heart Mission and other community partners such as 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,” says 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 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. A full analysis will be released this year, including an assessment of not just the extent but the complexity of rough sleeping in the area.

Initial findings from the point-in-time 2018 Street Count show that of the 91 people counted as sleeping rough in the City of Port Phillip, 61 were men, 18 women, one identified as transgender  and 11 were recorded as ‘unknown’. Most  people  were between  25 and 55 years old, 72 were single, and nearly 20 percent identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.

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.

This article has been reproduced with permission  from Launch Housing’s newsletter –  Autumn 2018.