A single photo of a typical Australian road reveals a huge problem that most of us ignore every day
Scattered scenes of the ruins of Sydney’s homeless illustrate the country’s homelessness crisis
A split beanbag that has covered a Sydney CBD pavement in a snow of white beads illustrates the growing plight of homelessness in Australia.
The scene was taken on Wednesday morning at the corner of Clarence and Erskine Streets in the heart of the country’s largest city.
Half of the sidewalk is covered with styrofoam pellets spilled from a deflated bean bag that sits in front of a 7/11 convenience store window.
Also scattered about three meters long are cardboard boxes, newspapers, piles of worn clothes, plastic bags and even an overturned Blade scooter.
Aziz, who works at 7/11, said the remains belonged to homeless man Greg who had been camping on the sidewalk ‘for days’.
The contents of a split beanbag and other belongings strewn on a Sydney sidewalk highlight the country’s homelessness crisis.
Aziz said, ‘He’s just stuck there.
‘He mostly buys food from us, he gets coins from those who give it to him,’ Aziz said.
Aziz said, if there is a mess on the glass wall of the shop, the shop staff will clean it outside.
‘Beyond that what they do on the road is beyond our reach, there is nothing we can do.’
Charity Mission Australia reported that demand for its homelessness services, mainly in New South Wales, had risen by 26 per cent to 7,378 people over the past two calendar years.
The report, released in May, described homelessness as a ‘national emergency’ that is expanding to include groups that previously had secure housing.
The debris covering a three-meter-long area on the CDB sidewalk belongs to a homeless man.
A worker at a 7/11 store said employees sometimes clean up the mess when it bends against the store’s glass walls.
Mission Australia’s program manager, Donna Davies, said: ‘We are now seeing families with children, including those fleeing domestic violence, more and more older people – particularly older women – and many people who are working full-time.’
‘There really is a whole new group that needs our help.’
The report blamed skyrocketing rents, low wages and income support payments and a shortage of social and affordable housing for compounding the problem.
Real estate research firm PropTrac has confirmed that rents under $400 a week in Sydney have hit a record low – falling from 21 per cent of all rents to just 9 per cent between 2020 and 2023.
Trina Jones from Homelessness NSW said in May there were more than 57,000 families on waiting lists for short-term accommodation as the state entered the winter months.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is trying to get a social housing package through parliament but has been blocked by Coalition and Greens senators.
‘Homelessness is a bad situation away from everyone,’ said Carey.
A council for the city’s Inner West Council newspaper said they were concerned about the growing number of people camping at Enmore Park, which fell under their jurisdiction.
‘Several agencies are involved in visiting Enmore Park and engaging with those who are sleeping rough. We are aware of this and it is regrettable,’ a council spokesman said.
Enmore Park sits in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s electorate.
The Albanese government’s $10 billion social housing package stalled in parliament after Coalition and Greens senators voted against it.
Even if the measure were to get through homelessness, agencies said it would be too little and too late for those already living on the streets or in other temporary or unsafe housing.