More affordable housing is needed to combat the growing number of people sleeping on Sydney’s streets, Lord Mayor Clover Moore says.
Almost 500 people were found sleeping rough in the inner city during the biannual street count in February, the highest number on record since the count started in 2010.
“This is a tragic situation and I’m deeply saddened by the dramatic rise in numbers,” Ms Moore said on Friday.
She said escalating rents and property prices had forced more people on to the streets.
“We all know Sydney is in the grip of a housing crisis, and now even middle-income earners are finding it tough to pay their rents and mortgages,” she said.
The street count also found fewer hostel beds were available, with 404 beds occupied in the latest count compared to 541 beds in August 2010.
Ms Moore said the number of people sleeping rough would decrease if state and federal governments found ways to provide affordable housing and social housing with support services.
“You can’t solve homelessness without housing,” she said.
City of Sydney Council has committed $4.2 million over the next three years to tackle the problem.
Homelessness NSW has also called on the state government to urgently come up with an integrated plan.
Its Inner City Sydney Registry Week Report, which was released on Friday, found a lack of affordable housing was a major driver of homelessness.
The report surveyed 516 people experiencing homelessness and found they were each living on less than $400 a week, which places them below the poverty line.
More than 70 per cent reported having a substance abuse problem and more than half had a mental health issue.