The most complete and up-to-date picture of street sleeping in Maitland is set to be captured with a street count taking place in the city this week.
Department of Communities and Justice staff, Hume Community Housing and local specialist homelessness services will hit the streets of Maitland on Thursday morning to count the number of people who are sleeping rough in the community.
Teams undertaking the counts will drive and walk through areas where people may be sleeping rough, identified based on local knowledge of government agencies and service providers.
Teams will tally the numbers of people sleeping rough and the data will be used to develop strategies and responses to support people sleeping rough and connect them with the required support services.
And there is perhaps no better example of that outcome than Dale, who recently found a home in Maitland through Hume Community Housing after living in his car with his dog Halo.
Dale was referred to Hume by the Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services for help to find a suitable home and to access support services so he could get back on his feet.
Living in his car had been a long-term situation for Dale, who needed a home that would accept his four-legged friend.
"Halo has been with me through thick and thin," he said. "Not only is she my best friend, she is all I have left. I truly treasure her. She brightens up my day and I couldn't do life without her."
Dale said he and Halo love their new home and that he is now working on his mental health and financial situation.
"It's a huge adjustment getting used to living in a house, and I love the garden," he said.
"Halo loves playing in the big yard, and we're tending to a frangipani tree out the front. It will look beautiful when it's in full bloom. It's unbelievable to have a place to call my home."
The street count is being held in almost 300 NSW locations, which have been identified in consultation with homelessness services, community housing providers, local councils, local Aboriginal land councils and other service providers who work with people experiencing homelessness or disadvantage.
The street count is part of the NSW Government's target of halving street sleeping by 2025.