Freo's View




Winter, wet weather and cold nights are not far away and make me worry about the many homeless people we have.

There are around 13,000 homeless people in WA and 105,250 in Australia and the main reasons for homelessness are poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing and poor mental or physical health.

The waiting list to rent a Homeswest place is three years, so why do governments not legislate for more affordable and social housing I wonder.

Maybe the City of Fremantle could add affordable housing as an incentive to receive extra height for new development in some appropriate pockets of our city. What about allowing for a discretionary extra height of one storey if the developer agrees to make half of the floor space of that extra storey available for affordable and social housing?

The floor space for affordable/social housing is allowed to be spread within the building and does not have to be on the top floor that will create additional income through penthouse apartments.

I believe Fremantle Council should seriously consider this as an option to entice developers to embrace social housing.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, housing, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017

There is an interesting forum Housing and the Future
 on at the Fremantle Moore&Moore cafe in Henry Street this Thursday August 31 at 5.30 pm.

The diversity and affordability of housing is something that needs to be revisited by state and local governments, and the way the government supplies social housing as well, so this will be a good forum to participate in.

The forum features WA Minister Peter Tinley, the Member for Willagee,  Hayden Groves, President of the Real Estate Institute of WA, and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

Tickets are $ 50.00. Finger food, beer, wine and soft drink included.

Click on the link below for more info.


Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living by freoview on February 16, 2017

For those interested in alternative living projects the Exploring Tiny Houses in Fremantle – and Different ways of Living Tiny is a good way to connect with like-minded people, network and share ideas.

Join Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton – back from her recent trip to Europe – plus other expert panelists for a discussion and presentation of examples by local people who are pioneering a new phase of modest housing in Fremantle.

Its on Thursday March 2nd at the Fremantle Library from  6pm-7:30pm.

In times of a lack of really affordable housing, homeless people, a fast ageing population, and many mature singles and students looking for small living options, local councils should do more to explore options and find ways of alternative living.

Roel Loopers


Posted in accommodation, fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living by freoview on November 22, 2016

Living Together Better is on tonight at 6.30 at the Fremantle Townhall, so everyone interested in alternative living/sharing projects should attend and share their opinion and ideas.

It is organised by Meriam Salama who is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.

Living Together Better will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.

More details on:

The model Salama is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.



Posted in community, fremantle, lifestyle, living by freoview on November 8, 2016

Meriam Salama is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.

The Henry Project event is held on 22nd November 2016, and co-hosted by the City of Fremantle, and Shelter WA. It will provide details of how co-ownership works and what these properties might look like.

More importantly, it will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.  

There are more event details here:

Through The Henry Project, Meriam hopes to create opportunities to free people from the overwhelming burden of household debt, in order to live more fulfilling lives.

The model she is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.



Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, homelessness, st patricks, western australia by freoview on July 13, 2016

I am a big fan of the monthly Fremantle Network events at the National Hotel because we can hear first hand and face to face what is going on in Fremantle and the vision people have for our city. We can contribute by sharing ideas and asking questions, so that we can make informed decisions.

Last night TFN presented Victor Crevatin who is the director for homelessness and support services at St Patrick’s, which was established in Fremantle in 1972.

Victor told us that 200 people a day come to Freo’s St Pats and that they provided 16,300 meals in six months, some of them served by primary school volunteers. They also provided 1,800 free health services in the six months.

Crevatin said St Pats were branching out and diversifying their services, reaching out to women with The Sisters Place, free dental health care for homeless people, youth and mental health housing programs, women shelters, etc, but disappointingly they could not assist 300 people due to lack of resources.

The yearly Street Register counted 68 homeless people over two mornings, but there are many who don’t want to be caught and counted within the system. Nearly 60% of those counted were Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders and that is a big concern that needs to be addressed, Victor said. He also urged for a special health service for this group.

Most homeless people in Fremantle were 25 years and older and homeless for five years while those under 24 years had been homeless for six and a half years.

Victor Cretavin said that agencies needed to collaborate better but egos at management levels were often in the way and the fact that the agencies were all fighting for the same limited pot of gold of funding.

He said it was not good enough to just offer affordable housing but that support needed to be provided to the tenants to make it work. But he said affordable housing needed to be accepted by the community as there was a NIMBY attitude to providing accommodation because of perceived social issues.

“Homelessness is not going away and we need to do something together as a community!”

Cretavin said he was disappointed that the recent long Federal election campaign had not addressed homelessness and housing and he put new Fremantle MP Josh Wilson who was in the audience on the spot to say a few words about that. It was probably Josh’s first public talk since being elected.

Wilson said the challenge is one for all of us and that in real terms public housing was the same as twenty years ago. “We need a common ground model for agencies to work better together.”

The Labor party understands that homelessness is a huge issue with some 100,000 homeless people in Australia, Wilson said and that while in government Labor had a policy of halving homelessness by 2025.

Victor Cretavin then took over and told us that many homeless people were on the streets because of domestic violence, alcohol, mental health and drug issues, etc and that many are just scared. The system is so bogged down in risk assessment that it turns down people who end up living on the streets.

We need better education and plant the seeds of community awareness so the community understands the issues around homelessness better, and that should start in primary schools. “Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice!”

He said an 11-year-old boy had made 200 homelessness packs and there was scope for all kind of volunteers, even data collecting.

We are looking for small little wins, Victor said and suggested the City of Fremantle could make a carpark available for those who sleep in cars, to create a safer environment for them.

I believe if that was done portable toilets and showers would also need to be provided and of course on site security, but would the community near that designated carpark accept it and how to stop it from becoming another backpackers camping ground?

These are huge challenges but we need to address them as a community. Homelessness is not acceptable in our wealthy country and it is not a pretty sight. It’s a bit like looking in the mirror and seeing shit on your face.

I am convinced that especially here in Fremantle with all the caring and warm-hearted people we can and must do better!

Roel Loopers






Posted in city of fremantle, housing by freoview on October 26, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will conduct a Heritage Development Tour for the National Housing Conference 2015.

The website states “Fremantle is a historic port city currently undergoing major urban revitalisation – with social and affordable housing a key part of this transformation. Led by the Mayor of Fremantle, this tour showcases the redevelopment of a number of unique heritage buildings that are helping to house the city’s growing population.”

I am not at all sure that Fremantle is doing any better with affordable housing than any other council and while we have a percentage for affordable housing policy in Fremantle the number of apartments are generally lowered when developers tell Council it is not financially viable to include so many affordable apartments in a complex.

One has to question what affordable means. Are apartments affordable for people who are earning let’s say $ 30,000 a year or those on a pension who get even less? How many apartments in Fremantle were made available through the shared-equity scheme, and how many were social/public housing the poorest of the community could afford?

I would also like to know the real percentage of affordable apartments in all the new development in Freo, is it 15%, 10%, or less?

Maybe Brad Pettitt could kindly answer those questions, so we get to know the real facts about affordable housing in Fremantle.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on July 5, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has been publishing interesting articles on his blog about his fact-finding trip to some of the European most liveable cities. His latest article can be read in full here:

I commented on Brad’s blog a few weeks ago that some of the things he is very impressed about are things we in Fremantle have long indicated as being desirable for our city and a lot of it was mentioned during the Fremantle 2029 community sessions, but largely ignored when the report on it was published.

Brad writes in his latest blog post that his observations in Europe showed that new development needs to be accompanied by a major provision of high quality green spaces at a total of 30% of the land size of the development, not the 10% that is standard in W.A. Increase in public open spaces and making it compulsory for new developments is something others in the Freo community and I personally have called for on this blog for years. It shows that there are visionaries with sensible and practical ideas in our own suburbs and they should be listened to better and taken seriously..

Brad also writes that new development needs to have a diverse range of housing that brings the community together of all ages and incomes, ideally in the same building. This is again something I an others have been pushing for for a long time, because there is a risk that especially the Fremantle CBD could become a yuppy town that is only affordable to those on high incomes, while those who need affordable housing are pushed away to the suburbs where anti-social behaviour often becomes a problem, as recent reports about Hilton and the one on the Iceworks development show.

I would love to see Brad initiate a public forum session on how we can plan and develop Fremantle better, because it is essential to get it right and it should not be left to a few ideology driven who have a big public profile and get all the media attention.

People have been critical of the Fremantle Mayor going on this trip and calling it a junket, but I really enjoy Brad Pettitt’s first-hand reporting on those European cities, because we can make them relevant to what we are doing wrong here and improve faster that way.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, housing by freoview on June 3, 2015

I enjoy Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog posts on his fact finding trip to liveable European cities, as there is always something we can learn. But I wonder why something from elsewhere always makes a bigger impression and people like our Mayor say we should do this in Fremantle. Take Brad’s blog on Hamburg for example.

The Mayor raves about affordable housing projects in the German city of Hamburg, where like-minded people get involved to create the environment they’d like to live in. I suggested something along those ideas in one of the many Freo Future 2029 workshops I attended, but it was not even mentioned in the elaborate document the COF published.

My idea at the time was to create affordable housing projects for e.g. artists and other creative people, with shared meeting and dining areas and open green spaces, maybe even sharing cars, scooters, bikes, washing machines, etc. Each project specifically designed for the needs of that specific group, so they take ownership of the creation.

I think this is a pretty good example of governments not listening well enough to the community, but spending a lot of money on overseas trips to get exited about ideas overseas, that locals at home also had, but went unnoticed.

It reminds me all a bit too much of when I hear people say that  WA artists can’t be very good if they have not had exhibitions in the eastern states and overseas. Believing that the best is elsewhere shows a lack of confidence in the place one lives in.

Roel Loopers


Posted in development, fremantle, housing by freoview on January 16, 2015

Residential development plans for Burt Street in Fremantle by the Housing Department of WA are a good example of how difficult good governance is. There is no doubt the Perth metro area needs higher density accommodation to curb the very expensive and non-viable urban sprawl, and that there is a desperate need for more public housing, but people living nearby in single storey homes feel rightly threatened by the massive development of more than 200 units at 37 metres height. There will no doubt be a social and traffic/parking impact on their quality of life.

It is extremely disappointing that this will be a commercial development and that only 15 per cent of the new units will be for public tenants and that not even half of the development is required to be “affordable” whatever that means.

Was is even more disappointing is that the site housed 62 Homeswest units before it was demolished but the new development will only have around 30 public housing units, if State Government does not give in to a bleating developer, who will no doubt tell them that 15 percent is not commercially viable, and reduce the required public housing to only 10 percent.

In reality it makes very little difference what Fremantle Council votes for. If they don’t recommend approval it will probably be overruled by the State’s Development Assessment Panel anyway.

My personal feeling is that the height and the mass of the building are inappropriate for the location and that it needs to be scaled down. It should also contain a lot more units for REAL affordable and public housing. The location will provide 360 degree ocean views, so it will highly likely be filled with penthouses and expensive yuppie apartments, which will leave little room for affordable accommodation.

Roel Loopers

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