People sleeping rough - information for businesses
Over 24,000 Victorians can sleep rough on any given night. The causes are complex, and affect communities of all types.
The City of Stonnington works closely with local police, health, housing and support services to monitor and support people who are sleeping rough. Experienced staff stay in touch with people who are known to sleep rough in our community, providing referral information about housing, health and other support.
We also know that people sleeping rough in business and shopping areas can cause confusion and uncertainty for business owners, traders and staff. See the below information for guidance.
Steps to take if you believe someone is at risk
People sleeping rough have a right to be in public spaces and should be treated as any other member of the public. There are no enforcement capabilities with respect to sleeping rough and Council is not permitted to ‘move on’ people. Enforcement only applies where a law (Local or State) has been or is being breached, for example where there is associated illegal or criminal activity.
Call 000 if you feel threatened or believe someone is unwell or is at risk of harming self or others. When speaking with emergency services be ready to provide your specific address and outline the emergency.
Let emergency services handle it. Do not place yourself or others at risk by confronting someone or trying to resolve a situation.
Encountering people sleeping rough at or near your business
If you encounter someone sleeping rough at on your business’s doorway, assess if the person is on private or public land.
If someone is on a public footpath
Contact Council to report:
- rough sleeping in public spaces such as retail precinct footpaths
- any belongings that are obstructing footpaths (such as mattresses, furniture and trolleys) or causing a threat to health and safety (such a sharps, waste and alcohol).
Call 8290 1333 or make an online request at stonnington.vic.gov.au/requestaservice (we suggest calling if you believe a quicker response is necessary).
If someone is on private land (doorways, fire escapes etc)
Call 000 and ask to speak to police to report:
- illegal activity
- welfare or safety concerns for someone sleeping rough
- damage to property
- rough sleeping on private land.
Proactive outreach workers regularly visit rough sleeping areas in Stonnington and engage with people sleeping rough. If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough you can make a referral to local outreach services, contact details are below.
Services provided include case management, material aid, access to emergency accommodation and a pathway into permanent housing. They can also connect people sleeping rough to healthcare, mental health support, counselling and drug and alcohol support. When making a referral please provide the address or closest intersection and any details that will assist the outreach workers to identify the individual.
For more information, see: