THE high rate of homelessness in the region has sparked a Shellharbour City-based awareness campaign.
Through social media and printed material, the council will highlight the need for increased understanding and treatment of people without a home.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 there were 166 people homeless in the Shellharbour and Kiama areas, representing 13.8 per cent of the people experiencing homelessness in the Illawarra.
This number was a dramatic leap of 80 per cent from the statistics gathered in 2006.
There are 1205 people in the Illawarra experiencing homelessness, representing 4.3 per cent of those who are homelessness in NSW.
The campaign will also help to connect people without a home with free services and resources available. Information leaflets have been distributed to libraries, community facilities and services.
In February, the council adopted the NSW Protocol for Homeless People in Public Places to help ensure they are treated respectfully and appropriately.
Ven Andrews, acting manager at the Warilla Neighbourhood Centre, said while it didn't occur on a regular basis, they did encounter homeless people visiting the centre.
"It's not consistent, but I think it's increasing," she said.
"Household bills and a rise in the cost of living, and mental health can also be a factor."
Their assistance includes distributing "bed packs", containing basic toiletries that are prepared by a nearby resident.
They also ensured they referred any homeless individuals to the relevant agencies, depending on their needs.
"Most of the people here are from the local community, so they know what goes on in the community," Ms Andrews said.
"It's still heart-breaking when they do see someone who is in a desperate situation. Homelessness does seem to be growing in the Illawarra, and it may get worse."
Last week the council marked World Homeless Day to draw attention to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.