People with mental illnesses and drug problems who are also homeless deserve better than sleeping rough on our streets. In Parliament, I asked the Government to urgently house people living on the streets and parks of Woolloomooloo - an area with about one third of the inner city's rough sleepers.
Things must change. Homeless people are finding it tough to get accommodation and support and residents are afraid of anti-social behaviour near their homes. Both homeless people and residents are at real risk from a small number of people involved in criminal activity in the area.
Woolloomooloo needs a community development worker to coordinate services and action. The same role helped solve similar problems at Northcott in Surry Hills.
Housing NSW needs to lease vacant properties and build new homes on vacant land, regularly clean its properties, apply for Tom Uren Square to be alcohol free and attend community meetings to work with tenants and other agencies to address local problems.
During my speech in Parliament I called on the Government to give priority to Woolloomooloo rough sleepers in new supported accommodation in Camperdown and asked for renewal of the groundbreaking 1974 Woolloomooloo Tripartite Agreement between all levels of government.
The City of Sydney is doing more than any other local government authority to address homelessness - we run the Homeless Persons Information Centre, part-fund the Way2Home outreach service, organise street counts and fund support services but housing is a State Government responsibility and the new Government needs to take action.