Housing and homelessness
Council is working to address this significant social issue in the Tweed.
Council must balance community needs and expectations, regulatory responsibilities and respecting people's rights.
Due to the nature of homelessness, it is difficult to accurately measure the number of people that are homeless within the Tweed Shire at any given time.
The below statistics have been based on the 2021 Census.
Some 529 people in the Tweed Shire identified as experiencing homelessness on Census night. This is an increase from the 2016 Census (444 people) and 2011 Census (308).
- People living in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out (37%)
- People in supported accommodation for the homeless (12%)
- People staying temporarily with other households (24%)
- People living in boarding houses (4%)
- People in other temporary lodgings (6%)
- People in severely crowded dwellings (16%)
A further 304 people identified as living in other marginal housing on the night of the 2021 Census, including other crowded dwellings and improvised dwellings, and people who are marginally housed in caravan parks.
According to the Department of Communities and Justice Annual State-wide Street Count, Tweed Shire saw the largest total increase in the number of people rough sleeping from 2021 to 2022 across NSW Local Government Areas.
Groups of people who can be particularly vulnerable to the risk of homelessness include:
- Young people
- Women and children leaving domestic and family violence
- Older people - particularly women over 55 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- People with mental health issues.
Homelessness has significant and lasting impacts on individuals and families. It is related to poor health, higher rates of mental illness, and future employment problems, as well as more frequent use of health, justice and welfare services. For some people, experiencing homelessness is an isolated event – it happens once for a short time. Other people will cycle in and out of homelessness, unable to find and sustain housing for more than a temporary period (NSW Government 2018).
Tweed Shire Council was one of the first local governments in NSW to adopt a Homelessness Policy (2015).
Our current homelessness policy(PDF, 233KB) was adopted on 12 December 2018. Also see homelessness policy review(PDF, 161KB)
In partnership with the housing and homelessness sector and other tiers of government, Council is committed to a collaborative approach to shifting the trajectory for people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness.
Council's homelessness policy outlines the following to prevent and reduce homelessness:
- education and advocacy
- facilitation and coordination
- Council services and compliance
- land-use planning
- monitoring and research
Committees, interagency, networks and working groups
Council provides Secretariat support to the Tweed Housing and Homelessness Network which aims to build an innovative and integrated housing and homeless service system. The aim is to maximise opportunities to address homelessness and housing needs at all levels, including government, service providers, community and those most at risk.
Meetings: first Thursday of every month - new members are welcome
Time: 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Location: rotates between Murwillumbah Community Centre and The Family Centre, Tweed Heads.
Call: 02 6670 2400
Events and activities supported
Youth Homelessness Matters Day
Youth Homelessness Matters Day is held each year during National Youth Week. It aims to raise public awareness about youth homelessness and celebrate the resilience of young people who are at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness in Australia.
Anti-Poverty Week is held in October each year. A range of activities aim to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia and overseas.
Policy and strategic documents
A range of policies and strategic documents are used to guide engagement and planning for homeless people across the Tweed. These include the Community Profile, Census data, Issues Papers, Policies and Community Strategic Plan.
Local support for the homeless