If you’re comfortable and it feels suitable, you can engage with someone by having a conversation. Connection and communication are incredibly important for people who may feel otherwise outcast from the community. Many people experiencing homelessness feel invisible. Just a quick ‘hi’ can start to change someone’s day. Do keep in mind personal space and the person’s willingness to engage, and ensure you respect boundaries. Avoid taking photos or recordings of the person and ensure you maintain your own privacy.
If someone is sleeping rough in the areas of Stonnington, Port Phillip, Frankston, Dandenong and City of Melbourne you can call the Rough Sleeper’s Initiative on (03) 8598 1170.
If they are in the areas of Yarra, Merri-bek or Darebin you can contact the Assertive Outreach team at Launch Housing Collingwood on (03) 9288 9611.
In other areas, you can find out who the local housing access point is by calling Opening Doors on 1800 825 555. This is a free call number that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your call will be answered by a worker who can put you in touch with an organisation closest to you.
Importantly, if the person requires emergency medical attention please call an ambulance.
Find out more about what you can do in the moment to help someone rough sleeping.