Number of people sleeping rough in Royal National Park appears to be on the rise.

An aerial audit in 2019 identified 27 camps, with eight of those believed to be occupied. Picture: Facebook
An aerial audit in 2019 identified 27 camps, with eight of those believed to be occupied. Picture: Facebook

The number of people sleeping rough in Royal National Park appears to be on the rise.

An aerial audit in 2019 identified 27 camps, with eight of those believed to be occupied.

The audit is carried out each year by the Rural Fire Service and police.

Figures for the previous two years were not immediately available, but in 2016 a total of 20 sites were found, compared with 10 in 2015.

Sutherland Shire Council provided the latest figures while updating its Homelessness Policy.

The original policy was adopted in 2003 and consisted of a range of prescribed approaches to address conflicts over public space.

Following a recent homelessness forum, it was decided the information was out of date and / or no longer relevant.

The new policy is considered to be "more concise and easier to understand".

It will be "supported by operational guidelines to assist council staff in supporting the delivery of services to homeless people".

Deputy Mayor Steve Simpson said the council played a relatively minor role in dealing with the issue and was "a conduit" in referring the homeless to specialist organisations.

A new brochure, which council staff hand out, contains information on services.