COVID-19 has meant an end to the scourge of homelessness in Tamworth, at least for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, according to one housing organisation.
About a dozen people usually live on Tamworth's streets, with around 200 more living without a fixed address.
But Homes North CEO Maree McKenzie said regional homelessness services have found almost every one of them a roof over their head.
For the first time in generations, every single resident of Tamworth who wants one has a roof over their head, she said.
"I think COVID-19 is showing that if we put our focus and a small amount of money - it doesn't take a lot - that we can actually end homelessness," she said.
That's partly an emergency response designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The social housing sector has managed the feat by conducting 'homelessness patrols' in Tamworth, approaching people who need help rather than expecting them to front up at a service provider's door.
Trialled in Sydney, the program has been rolled out urgently to Tamworth and other parts of regional NSW as a result of the virus.
The homeless tend to be both older and sicker than the average Tamworth resident. Both factors increase their risk of infection, or that they will become a vector to infect others with the virus.
Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) has done the outreach to offer temporary stable housing. Some 25 individual homeless people have been housed, largely people who had been couch surfing.
TFSS' Maree McKenzie said she believes the sector can learn lessons from the emergency effort that can permanently end the social problem.
"I think if we through this effort we can learn how to coordinate services respond quickly so that when someone does become homeless it doesn't become a long term entrenched way of living," she said.
"That is very difficult to change.
"It's not going to happen quickly and some people have adapted; that's the life they feel more comfortable with.
"But ultimately it's a heavy price they pay in regards to their health and their longevity."
The Homes North CEO said it was important the government invest in new public housing after the end of the coronavirus crisis to ensure that social problem never recurs.
Most homeless Australians do not live on the street - they 'couch surf', moving from one home to another.
Around 116,000 Australians were homeless on census night in 2016, an increase of 13.7 per cent over the previous survey.
In NSW there were 37,715 people without a fixed address, up 37 per cent.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the NSW government is aiming to get rough sleepers into accommodation "as a priority".
"We have also announced an additional 1000 packages of rental assistance to support people at risk of homelessness into the private rental market, including young people and women and children escaping domestic violence," he said.