Council observes the NSW Protocol for Homeless People in Public Places. Whilst homelessness is not the primary responsibility of Council, it has a duty of care to note the location of rough sleepers, establish their state of wellbeing and ensure they have access to appropriate support services.
Rough sleepers share the same rights as other community members in accessing public places including parks, open spaces and facilities owned, controlled or managed by Council. Whilst acting lawfully, rough sleepers have the right to:
- Privacy, dignity and respect;
- Accessing public amenities and public activities;
- Carry and store their belongings with them.
Council will leave rough sleepers alone unless they request assistance. Under the following circumstances matters will be directly referred to the Police or Emergency Services to respond:
- They appear to be distressed or in need of assistance;
- Their behaviour is likely to result in damage to property or have a negative impact on the environment;
- They are sheltering in locations that puts themselves or other’s health and safety at risk;
- They are a child who appears to be under the age of 16 and unaccompanied.
When should members of the public intervene?
The public should contact the Police in the first instance if:
- The person is behaving in a manner that may endanger themselves and/or others;
- A breach of the peace is occurring or has occurred;
- An unlawful act is occurring or has occurred.
How will Council respond to reports from the public?
Council will respond sensitively to the individual need of rough sleepers based on the person’s cultural background, experiences and abilities. Council will:
- Contact specialist homelessness services that are best placed to deal with the rough sleeper;
- Follow up with specialist homelessness services on progress made;
- Contact the Local Area Command when the health and safety of the rough sleeper and/or community’s safety is jeopardised;
- Providing updates to the public upon request.