People experience homelessness when they do not have accommodation that is safe, secure and appropriate. Homelessness can occur due to a variety of complex issues including loss of employment, family breakdown, mental health and family violence.

The City of Stonnington is working towards Stonnington Zero - a collaborative partnership that brings organisations and the community together to identify opportunities to create new housing and reduce rough sleeping.

Stonnington Zero

Stonnington Zero is a collaborative partnership that brings organisations and the community together to identify opportunities to create new housing and reduce rough sleeping.

The partnership between Council, Launch Housing: Melbourne Zero, Alfred Health, Star Health, Housing First, Prahran Malvern Community Housing and Victoria Police commenced in December 2021.

The project is based on a ‘functional zero’ approach. Functional zero is reached when the number of people entering and experiencing homelessness is less than available housing and support services.

Once achieved, Functional Zero will be sustained and any future experiences of rough sleeping homelessness in Stonnington will be brief, rare, and non-reoccurring.

Stonnington Zero Statement of Commitment (extract)

Stonnington Zero partner agencies believe that housing is a human right. We know that homelessness and especially rough sleeping homelessness has devastating consequences on the health and wellbeing of those who experience it.

Homelessness is a challenge that no single program or organisation can solve on its own. As a community, we unite in agreement that homelessness is an issue that can only be solved by working together in new ways with open minds and treating people with dignity and respect. As members of this community, we will contribute to creating an inclusive and supportive society that understands homelessness affects us all and can happen to anyone.

Stonnington Zero partners share a vision to end homelessness, hold common understandings of the causes and complexities of homelessness and commit to a joint approach to reducing rough sleeping through agreed actions.

City of Stonnington, Launch Housing, Alfred Health, Victoria Police, Star Health, HousingFirst and PMCH logos

Tackling homelessness

Our approach is to:

  • Provide information to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness about where they can access housing and support,
  • Ensure people requiring assistance are referred to the appropriate service providers as soon as possible,
  • Monitor the extent of homelessness in Stonnington, and
  • Enhance community understanding about the causes of homelessness and local support service

Council does not have the power to move people on. People who are homeless have a right to be in public spaces and will be treated as any other member of the public. 

Council will respond to a person who is, or appears homeless if:

  • They request assistance,
  • They appear distressed or in need of assistance,
  • They are sheltering in circumstances that threaten the health and safety of themselves and/or others (e.g. in derelict buildings),
  • Their behaviour threatens their own safety or the safety of others,
  • Their behaviour is likely to result in damage to property or to the environment,
  • Their safety is threatened by others, and 
  • They appear to be under the age of 18.

Homelessness support services

View a list of services that provide support for homelessness. 

Support services

  • MiCare: assists people over 50 who are on low income to find long-term affordable housing. Call 03 9510 5877.

Private Rental Assistance Program

Reporting homelessness

Concerns regarding homelessness can be reported to Council by phone 03 8290 1333 or via a service request online.

Reports of homelessness will be investigated by Council’s Local Laws Officers who will liaise with local police and make a referral to the Launch Housing and Star Health outreach services. These services will visit the location and offer a variety of support including emergency housing.

If the person is unwell or at risk of harming themselves or others please call 000.


The City of Stonnington recognises that begging is a complex issue.

Council Local Laws Officers routinely patrol Stonnington’s commercial precincts to monitor amenity and regularly speak with people who are experiencing homelessness or observed to be begging.

The City of Stonnington General Local Law 2018 (No.1) states that ‘A person must not, without a Permit, in a Public Place, solicit or collect money, gifts or subscriptions for any purpose or cause or authorise another person to do so.’ This provides the authority for Local Laws Officers to request the removal or disposal of any signs of a begging nature.

People who are begging are offered the Food and other help wallet card which provides contacts for housing, crisis support and health services. If the individual is identified as homeless, referral to outreach services is also offered.

Why do people beg?

People who beg or ask for money may be looking for help to resolve the issues they are experiencing. This might include:

  • being ineligible or waiting for income assistance or welfare payments
  • wanting to supplement their income
  • suffering from poor mental or physical health
  • supporting a drug or gambling habit.

Are people who beg homeless?

Not all people who beg or ask for money are homeless, and not all people experiencing homelessness beg.

Where do people beg?

Stonnington’s commercial precincts can be a popular location for people to beg due to high foot traffic and the generosity of our community.

Does giving money to people who are begging help them?

Giving money does not resolve the issues that people are experiencing or link them to services that can provide support.

When people visit support services their needs and wants can be assessed and they can be provided immediate relief and linked to appropriate services.

What do I do if asked for money?

It may be confronting to be asked for money by someone on the street.

You may wonder whether the person is in genuine need or if the money will be used for another purpose. This is difficult to determine.

Begging can be reported to council online or by calling 03 8290 1333.

If a person is begging aggressively, for example, is intoxicated, intimidating or violent and is placing people at risk, you should report to police by phoning 000 (triple zero).

If a person is begging in a passive, non-threatening way and you want to help them, you may like to offer to buy some food or a drink.

If I give money, what will it be spent on?

It’s not possible to know what your money will be spent on.

Giving to charities that support people who are homeless or begging means your money will be used in a positive way, enabling people to get the help they need now and in the long term.

Find more information on Support Services or see the Food and other help wallet card.