New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams just announced a new city policy to involuntarily remove people with mental illness from streets and subways. While policymakers and advocates respond, the New York Times also provided this snapshot of homelessness policies around the world.
At the end of the article, you’ll get to Sidney, Austrialia, a city of 5.3 million people with a latest count of 225 “rough sleepers.” I wanted to pull it out here for you:
Despite soaring rents and home prices, Australia’s largest city has managed to significantly reduce homelessness over the past five years through programs that combine immediate intervention with public and nonprofit services that include long-term follow-up.
Homelessness has been gradually declining in Sydney ever since the introduction of the Supported Transition and Engagement Program in 2018, which rapidly rehouses the homeless while also providing drug and alcohol counseling, health care and crisis support. In February 2017, the City of Sydney’s count tallied 433 “rough sleepers” on the streets. This year, in a city of 5.3 million people, that figure had been reduced to 225…
Australia generally has also benefited from a stock of public housing that, while much smaller than that of many European countries, still houses nearly 4 percent of the population, compared to 1 percent in the United States. It’s not enough — the wait list for so-called social housing in Sydney and the state of New South Wales is 50,000 people long — but with nationalized health care and a robust welfare system, homelessness has not reached anywhere near the levels that can be found in New York or San Francisco, and the trend lines are going down not up.