GORDON Whawell works a 14-hour shift most days, collecting cans and bottles before depositing them at the North Wagga's Return and Earn machine.
Meanwhile, his partner, Minney Hoggard, takes their pets and a trolley of supplies into town before settling into her usual spot outside Sturt Mall to ask for donations.
Alongside her is a sign with handwriting that reads: "We are homeless. We have nowhere to go. We have a tent down the park. Any spare change will help us. Thank you. God bless you all, have a good day."
They scramble just enough money for canned food and to sustain what they call their castle at Wilks Park.
Over the past two months, they have been living in a section of the park, which they gradually built up after their first tent was donated.
Now, there are chairs, wheelie bins, makeshift trolleys and a separate tent for their food storage and cooking.
"I've been living on the streets in Sydney for about 10 years before coming to Wagga," Mr Whawell said.
"My family wants nothing to do with me, Minney's family wants nothing to do with her."
The 42-year-old, who said he has been in trouble with the law previously, said they are trying to save enough money to pay for rental bond.
"But most of what we make is just enough to keep this place going and to feed us here, including the pets," he said.
Outside of Sturt Mall, Ms Hoggard, 31, has been sitting with their pet dog, Princess, and cat, Lala.
"We don't get Centrelink payments anymore because we have no fixed address," she said.
"I spent five years on the streets in Sydney as well and have no family in Wagga.
"It's never good to see this anywhere."
While the couple continues to eke out an existence on the fringe of the city, demand for crisis accommodation is growing, according to Bonnie Jackson-French at Wagga's Edel Quinn
"The demand's growing and we can't really explain why that is," Ms Jackson-French said.
"Wagga is getting bigger and bigger and so it's always a strain on services."
We really don't have anything other than blankets and the fireplaces to keep us warm and if it rains, then there's nothing else.Gordon Whawell
The latest data by St Vincent de Paul Society in Wagga, which operates Edel Quinn, shows an average of 110 people are being forced to sleep rough across the city this winter.
Between 2011 and 2016, NSW recorded a 33.8 per cent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, which is the highest in the country, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
A Homelessness NSW analysis of ABS data shows that people experiencing homelessness in the Murrumbidgee region increased 6 per cent in 2011-16.
To combat the issue, the state government recently announced that Wagga is one of six regional locations to receive new social properties.
Of the 102 new properties, Wagga will receive about 20, subject to planning controls and approvals.
Further, the government has committed $22 billion over 10 years for 23,500 new units to replace existing social dwellings.
Other recent initiatives by the state government include signing a global agreement to halve homelessness across the state by 2025.
"We know that homelessness is not just a city issue, which is why we have set this target to halve street homelessness across the entire state by 2025," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in February this year.
Back at the Wagga couple's location, Mr Whawell said he puts Ms Hoggard and the pets first when asked what they would do if asked to move on.
"We really don't have anything other than blankets and the fireplaces to keep us warm and if it rains, then there's nothing else," he said.
While signage at Wilks Park allows the area to be self-regulated, it is a designated primitive camping area with restrictions. A breach may result in a $110 fine.
"Compliance officers have recently been to Wilks Park and spoken with a number of campers," a Wagga City Council statement read.
"Council is also focused on working with social welfare agencies in the city to assist in finding more permanent accommodation for those in need.
"This approach is in line with the NSW government's protocol for homeless people in public places."
The issue will be highlighted at the Homelessness Week Expo on August 9 at Victory Memorial Gardens.