Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Mandurah City Council is calling on the State Government to help break the cycle of homelessness for the more than 80 people currently living rough in Mandurah.

Mayor Rhys Williams said it was devastating to see the most vulnerable people in our community struggle to get back on their feet.

“There is so much amazing work happening to support these people who have found themselves in an extremely vulnerable point in their lives, and yet a very clear missing piece is housing,” Mayor Williams said.

“As the State Government has pointed out in its homelessness strategy, we should not accept that some people in our community are homeless and need support, instead we need to be bold and strive to end homelessness. All paths should lead to a home.”

At last month’s Council meeting, councillors agreed to work with the State Government in an effort to bring a building that would provide homes, financial empowerment and on-site support to help our longer-term unemployed and homeless get back on their feet.

“We have some great things underway in regards to support for homelessness, but a Common Ground facility will further address the housing issue and really give people a leg up to help break the cycle,” Mayor Williams said.

“This is not temporary shelter, instead Common Ground provides people with the opportunity of home ownership, giving them the support they need to put a long-term roof over their head and get back that sense of security and comfort that so many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted.

“This is an issue we can’t tackle alone, and while all those people working across Mandurah to support our most vulnerable community members have made some major progress, we need to keep working with our government counterparts for funding for essential projects.

“Mandurah is a compassionate community and we really feel the struggles of our most vulnerable. To those that want to help, please know that a kind word and even a sandwich goes a long way, but to really help we need to connect these people to the support services they need to work through their individual circumstances.

“I look forward to continuing the work we’re doing with the State Government and local support services to make a real difference for the people who are right now unsure of what their future holds and where they may next find a warm bed that is their own.”

The City is finalising negotiations with the State Government to deliver a $350,000 Assertive Outreach Trial project, which will involve engaging a professional organisation to deliver an assertive outreach case management service within Mandurah. The project aims to improve the health, wellbeing and general outcomes for homeless and street present people, while reducing the impacts of disruptive behaviour caused by the harmful use of alcohol and other drugs.

In 2019, the City led the formation of a new Homelessness and Street Present Network model, which brings together close to 60 community organisations, government and non-government agencies to focus on housing, capacity building, safety and security, facilities and support systems.

Also in the works is the relocation of the Peel Community Kitchen from its current location at Sutton Hall to the City’s facility on Tuart Avenue. This move will allow the kitchen service to grow with future demand, and will be co-located with other services and assistance for people in need. The new custom-built kitchen is set to be operational by the end of the year.