THE Hills police commander Rob Critchlow is roughing it for the homeless this month.
On August 23 he joins the annual Mayor's Winter Sleepout, which raises money for homeless people throughout The Hills Shire.
"Homelessness is a serious issue," Superintendent Critchlow said.
"It is not confined to inner-Sydney; a lot of people sleep rough right here in The Hills."
He said as head of local police, he had more than a humanitarian concern about their situation.
"People who don't have regular shelter are vulnerable to being victims of crime, as well as their health being affected," he said.
"The police work with other agencies to get homeless people to shelters, where possible."
Superintendent Critchlow said it was not known how many homeless people lived in The Hills, but it was probably more widespread than many realised.
"Many do what's known as 'couch-surfing', where they move about from home to home," he said.
"Some people are homeless because they have a mental illness or they've lost their jobs or been thrown out of home.
"Sadly, we're seeing some older people excluded from home because of their relatives' greed."
He said everyone, especially homeless people themselves, should realise the police were not judgmental.
"Homeless people are part of our community," Superintendent Critchlow said.
"It's appropriate we show some leadership in looking after homeless people and improving their lives."
He thanked The Hills Council and mayor Dr Michelle Byrne for organising the sleepout and appealed for sponsors' donations.
The Mayor's Winter Sleepout, at Bella Vista Farm Park, Elizabeth Macarthur Drive, Bella Vista, is from 5pm, August 23 to 9am, August 24.
Tickets: $100 (without shelter) $200 (with shelter).
Details: register.eventarc.com/24572/hills-mayoral-sleepout or The Hills police, 9680 5399.