Cumberland City Council has some of the highest numbers of homeless persons by Local Government Area in New South Wales.
More than three thousand people are homeless within the Cumberland City Local Government Area compared to Sydney CBD that has over 5,600.
In a bid to raise awareness of the growing issue and to call for more action to address homelessness, Cumberland City Council recently hosted the Homeless sector Forum on Tuesday 31 May.
The forum which Council has been leading since 2018 had over 90 people attend, including prominent businesses, community leaders and organisations alongside an expert roundtable joined together to establish partnerships, collaborate and workshop ideas and discuss practical solutions to manage and respond to homelessness.
The event was an important opportunity to highlight the complex issues surrounding homelessness with experts weighing in on the housing affordability and rental crisis, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction and domestic and family violence, all of which are factors that can contribute to someone experiencing homelessness.
Western Sydney local Paniora Nukunuku who spoke on the panel about his experience with homelessness says more funding is needed to support social services that are still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19.
“It was heartbreaking to see so many social services have their funding slashed during COVID-19. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. When I finished high school, my family was kicked out of our home. It was a constant struggle to see where I was going to live. I had to be productive, proactive and take advantage of the opportunities that came my way.”
Mayor Lisa Lake said the statistics on homelessness in Cumberland are confronting and unfortunate.
“Sadly, this is a growing problem that needs to be addressed at all levels.” “Council is committed to supporting social services and working alongside community organisations to assist our rough sleepers as much as we can. In addition, Council has been actively trying to help reduce homelessness in Cumberland by reviewing its housing policies.”
“In 2020, Council completed the Housing Strategy and the Affordable Housing Strategy, and in 2021 Council began implementing the Affordable Housing Policy to deliver better outcomes for affordable housing in Cumberland.”
“We will continue to advocate with the NSW government and work with community organisations to help reduce homelessness in Cumberland and provide everyone with a safe and affordable place to live.” Mayor Lisa Lake said.