Freo's View

FREO LONG TABLE TICKETS GO ON SALE

Posted in charity, city of fremantle, community, homeless, social services, st patricks, Uncategorized by freoview on August 28, 2019

 

Long Table Dinner

 

Tickets for the fabulous Fremantle Long Table will be for sale from this coming Monday September 2 on, so make sure to be fast and order some, or you might be too late to be part of this very popular fundraising event for St Pat’s that will be held on November 28

Go to: http://www.fremantlelongtable.com.au

Roel Loopers

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GO LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF THE HOMELESS IN FREO TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, homelessness, social services, st patricks, Uncategorized by freoview on August 9, 2019

 

An event to put a human face on homelessness will be held in Fremantle TODAY between 10-12 am in the High Street Mall as part of Homelessness Week.

Couch Conversations – a collaboration between St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Uniting Care West and the City of Fremantle – will feature ten people with lived experience of homelessness who will be willing and available to share their stories with people passing by.

St Pats Chief Executive Michael Piu said a similar event held last year was a very positive experience for everyone involved.

“One of the common things we hear from people who are homeless is that they feel invisible and ignored – that people just walk past and look the other way,” Mr Piu said.

Couch Conversations is a great way to show that people who are homeless are real people with real stories to tell. The aim is to increase awareness of the issue, what is being done to reduce homelessness in Fremantle and how people can help out.

Couch Conversations follows the launch earlier this week of the 20 Lives 20 Homes program, which is two-year initiative to provide housing and wrap-around support to people sleeping rough in Fremantle.

The program will be coordinated by Ruah Community Services in conjunction with St Pats, Fremantle Foundation and the City of Fremantle.

Almost $1 million has been raised by the private sector to support the program, with the state government contributing $395,000 over two years and the City of Fremantle committing $40,000 this year with a further $40,000 proposed for next year.

Roel Loopers

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WHY PEOPLE BECOME HOMELESS

Posted in city of fremantle, homelessness, social services, st patricks, Uncategorized by freoview on August 8, 2019

 

Friday 10-12 mall talks

 

 

COUCH CONVOS is on tomorrow-Friday in the Fremantle High Street mall between 10-12am and will help people to get over some of the ignorance about homelessness.

People who have been homeless will talk about their experience; how they got there, how they coped with it and what the challenges were and are.

Many homeless people have mental health issues and far too many of those who sleep on the street are only in their teens.

Take the time to go and listen and engage with homeless people and don’t judge them as being the enemies of our society. Homelessness is a very serious social issue that needs priority in our governments as it is not acceptable that so many thousands of people have to sleep rough every night.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE HELP FOR THE HOMELESS

 

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A partnership between state and local government, the private sector and community service providers to address rough sleeping in Fremantle was announced today.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt joined Community Services Minister and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, Sirona Capital Managing Director Matthew McNeilly and other key stakeholders in Fremantle today to launch the 20 Lives 20 Homes campaign.

20 Lives 20 Homes is two-year initiative which will provide housing and wrap-around support to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Fremantle.

It is based on the 50 Lives 50 Homes collective impact project, which has successfully housed more than 147 rough sleepers in Perth over the past three years.

The program will be coordinated by Ruah Community Services in conjunction with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Fremantle Foundation and the City of Fremantle.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly has driven private sector support for the program, raising almost $1 million from a small number of individuals with strong Fremantle connections.

The state government is contributing a further $395,000 over two years, while the City of Fremantle has committed $40,000 this year with a further $40,000 proposed for next year.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said the program was an important step towards addressing homelessness in Fremantle. “This commitment to solve rough sleeping, rather than just manage it, is potentially a game changer on an issue that has sadly become more prevalent in many communities.

“I look forward to seeing some of the most vulnerable people in Fremantle being given a home and the support they need to get their lives back together.”

Mr McNeilly said the plight of homeless people in Fremantle hit home when the Kings Square Renewal project was about to commence.

“At the point Sirona was about to turn Kings Square into a construction site, I realised the redevelopment would displace a significant number of people who were using the doorways and vacant shops of the old Myer and Queensgate buildings for shelter,” Mr McNeilly said.

“I didn’t want anyone to be negatively impacted by the redevelopment, particularly the people sleeping rough.

“I remember overhearing a local business owner’s disparaging comment about a homeless person, saying that someone should do something about these people. The reality is it takes multiple ‘someones’, hence this initiative.”

Ruah Community Services Chief Executive Debra Zanella said 20 Lives 20 Homes would deliver a person-centred approach that links people to accommodation and support services that can address personal circumstances.

“We are privileged to be invited to deliver this targeted program to Fremantle, in partnership with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, the state government, the City and the private sector,” Ms Zanella said.

“We believe the success of the 50 Lives 50 Homes program is proof that ending rough sleeping in WA is achievable, as we work toward tackling the much broader and complex issue of homelessness.”

Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said the state government was proud to support a program that would make a difference for people sleeping rough in Fremantle.

“The 20 Lives 20 Homes program takes a housing-first approach and will help people experiencing homelessness get a roof over their head, which is an important first step, but it will also connect them with the support services that can get them out of homelessness permanently,” Ms McGurk said.

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FREMANTLE CHAMBER REJECTS WEST AUSTRALIAN CLAIMS

 

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce has hit back at The West Australians article that casts doubt on Fremantle’s economic growth potential and position.

In a media release the FCOC wrote:

Unlike many urban centres in Australia, Fremantle is currently experiencing unprecedented investment and renewal underway, with the combined value of private and public investment in the pipeline totaling more than $1.3 billion.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is actively connecting, uniting and assisting in the growth of a successful and vibrant business community that builds on Fremantle’s unique advantage, its heritage and its maritime focus.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Danicia Quinlan said: “Fremantle, like most urban centres, is affected by the current wave of societal change in the way people gather, shop, dine, interact commercially and manage environmental challenges. Learning from other Councils, or even other cities locally,mand internationally, is an important way to navigate our way through these changes. We need Fremantle Councillors and the Mayor to be an active part of trying to find ways to manage all of these complex challenges.”

And more feedback from Fremantle traders:

The damage The West Australian is doing to Fremantle and its businesses far surpasses any perceived damage by council. Fremantle Markets is running at full occupancy with over 56,000 visitors last weekend for the 3 days period. Feedback from traders was “sales were excellent”.

Councils everywhere are going through a difficult time, however, the City of Fremantle Economic Development team and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce regularly engage with businesses and continue to make many great improvements to the city” .

Natasha Atkinson – Chief Executive Officer Fremantle Markets and Winner Business News 2019 40 Under 40

Our focus is on Fremantle with our affordable and green residential developments. Our projects generally achieve an equity internal rate between 15-30% and we don’t see this slowing. Fremantle business has a great future as we focus on building on our competitive advantage of heritage, environmental consciousness and community spirit”.

Tao Bourton, Fremantle’s Yolk Property Group Director

It is exciting to see so many new businesses have decided to invest their potential in Fremantle not only for today, but for many years to come. We look forward to working together to build a unique and vibrant business community.”

Ivan Dezba, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce President and Managing Director, Benny’s

People more cynical than I am might well suggest the constant attacks on shopping in local councils are a PR exercise to promote urban shopping centres, from where more advertising dollars can be obtained than from the traditional High Street shopping destinations.

One week we read and see that all is wrong and violent in Cockburn, then it is Rockingham, Fremantle, Subiaco, Mount Lawley, Leederville, Perth, etc.

Is it PR, is it political to give less power to local councils, or is it just lazy journalism during slow news cycles?

A West End cafe owner told me that last Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been some of the busiest days they have experienced. Maybe it is time for the West and its sister TV and radio stations to be more balanced and allow Freo’s positive stories to come out in the open instead of always focusing on the negative aspects.

Roel Loopers

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LET’S TALK FREO UP!

 

Those people who constantly hammer Fremantle Council with criticism about vacant shops, homeless people, anti social behaviour and crime would do well to pay attention to recent media reports.

Shops, cafes and restaurants in Mount Lawley along once extremely popular Beaufort Street are closing in large numbers and they blame high rents and a drop in foot traffic for that.

The decline in retail is happening all over metropolitan Perth, Australia and the world as the traditional high street shopping destinations have been replaced with huge suburban shopping centres on the outskirts.

Media reports about excessive shop lifting and anti social behaviour in Cockburn, Rockingham, Canning, etc have become common, and the West Australian dedicated two pages of their weekend edition on the issues of homelessness in the Perth CBD.

There are no easy solutions for any of these problems and the call from traders for councils to demand that property owners charge lower rents is as unrealistic as it would be unlawful. Governments can not dictate what rents property owners can charge and while high rents in the present retail climate appear almost indecent and selfish there is very little local or state governments can do about it.

Some owners are better and allow pop-up shops to fill vacant shops, but only for a very limited time, so that is only a short-term ‘solution’.

Crime and anti social  behaviour are State responsibility and while Fremantle and most councils do have their own very good security officers they are often powerless as they do not have the right to issue move-on notices or arrest people.

There is no doubt though that the perception of not feeling safe will keep people away. Foot traffic numbers in the Cappuccino Strip have dropped dramatically while they have increased quite a bit in High Street in the West End. The latter is probably mainly due to Notre Dame University students pounding the pavement.

It is always strange to notice on busy Freo weekends how many people are walking along South Terrace but when I turn into High Street the street is nearly void of pedestrians.  Visitors seem to prefer Collie and Essex streets for their East West movement and ignore the far more attractive historic High Street.  Why is that, I wonder?

A prominent Freo business owner urged me last week to promote that we collectively stop talking our city down and that we have to start telling ourselves and our visitors how special Fremantle is.

Only yesterday at the Roundhouse two German tourists told me how much they liked Freo and how friendly people here are, and the volunteer guides hear those kind of remarks very often. We receive so much positive feedback from overseas and interstate visitors that it is hard to believe that some Fremantle residents and traders here have such a negative opinion about our gorgeous little city.

Freo is a great place but like most other suburbs has similar problems and struggles with the retail economy,  anti social behaviour and crime. Attracting more visitors to Freo will partly help with that, and that can only be achieved by not talking our city down, but by talking it up. Let’s give it a try!

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE CITIZENS OF THE YEAR AWARD

Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on January 26, 2019

 

 

An advocate dedicated to preventing Aboriginal families from being evicted from their homes has been named Fremantle’s Citizen of the Year.

Jennifer Kaeshagen is the founder and director of the First Nations Homelessness Project, which supports at-risk families and specialises in helping families avoid eviction from public housing.

With the assistance of an army of volunteers, the project has reduced the eviction rate of Aboriginal families from public housing by 25 per cent.

In the past 15 months alone Jennifer and her team have prevented the evictions of more than 100 households.

Nurse and midwife Ronelle Brossard was named Fremantle’s Senior Citizen of the Year for her decades-long commitment to providing culturally diverse women access to health and well-being support services.

Ronelle was a champion for the founding of the Meeting Place in South Fremantle, which still provides community programs today, and in 1984 established the Fremantle Women’s Health Centre which provides medical and counselling services as well as a program of health education and activities.

Fremantle Young Citizen of the Year award was presented to local Nyoongar woman Sally Gamble, who works with the Fremantle Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and volunteers her time with the Hilton PCYC.

The Active Citizenship award was won by the Fremantle Men’s Community Shed, while a certificate of appreciation was presented to Boomerang Bags Fremantle for their efforts to reduce plastic bag use.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said all of the Fremantle Citizens of Year embodied the community spirit Fremantle is famous for.

“The Citizen of the Year awards recognise and celebrate active citizenship and significant contributions to the life of our community,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“All of this year’s recipients share a passion for Fremantle and a love of its people, and they’ve all have made huge sacrifices to provide help and support to people who need it.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE BEGGARS BLAME GAME NOT HELPFUL

 

While there is no doubt that beggars and homeless people do create problems in Fremantle it is unfair to blame Fremantle Council for it, as the tabloid emotive article by Josh Zimmerman in the Sunday Times does today.

The headline screams that business furious at council inaction, and further in the article it is claimed that Fremantle has the reputation as a soft-touch on anti-social behaviour.

Beggars increase in numbers during the summer months in Fremantle and there is no doubt there are heaps of them around at the moment, many of them with mental health issues.

The Community Safety Officers of the City are on the beat every day from early till late, but they don’t have move-on power like the WA Police does, and anyway, that just shifts the problem elsewhere.

There have been several community safety forums held by the CoF which are attended by police and support services, but the frustration is always evident that there is little they can do about homeless people.

Homelessness is not a crime, but public drunkenness, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are, and that needs to be addressed more consistently, because there are a few too many who behave aggressively  on our streets who make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

There is no doubt in my mind that the fact that there are many support services in Fremantle attract homeless people to our city, because there is always a free meal, a new blanket, the Freo Street Doctor, etc. to help them out. Services they can’t get in most other suburbs in the Perth metro area.

Fremantle Council can’t be blamed for that however. We are yet again getting more CCTV cameras which are live monitored 24/7 and we have more Community Safety Officers on the streets as well. Law&order issues are State Government responsibility and not in the power of local councils.

It is an annoying and frustrating problem for which there are no easy solutions unfortunately, but the blame game in tabloid newspapers is not helpful either.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S WEST END DRUG WORRIES

Posted in anti-social, city of fremantle, crime, law&order, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2018

 

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Local residents and business owners in the area of High and Henry streets in Fremantle’s historic West End are fed up with anti-social behaviour and drug dealing, and the lack of decisive action by the authorities.

Photos and videos taken by the locals show that drug dealing is going on many times a day and that allegedly also affects the backpackers hostel above Bar Orient.

There have been meetings with Fremantle Police, the City of Fremantle safety rangers, Councillors and affected business owners and residents, but there is no relief from the steady stream of itinerants playing up in the area.

The problems near the backpackers on the corner of Henry and High streets have been going on for years, so Fremantle Council will need to have some serious thoughts about how it can improve the amenity for those who get all the negative impact from drug users and dealers.

There is a visual increase in the number of homeless people in Fremantle over the last few months, as often happens during the summer months, and when they roam around in groups they become intimidating.

Up at the Roundhouse homeless people are making the public toilets their day destination and hang out inside, so many tourists are not comfortable using the toilets.

The rangers mainly show up at Arthur’s Head early in the morning to evict people from the verandahs of the cottages, but rarely come up to patrol the area later in the day any more, so that also needs to improve.

Homelessness is a sad reality in Australia and so is the increase in drug use, but law abiding citizens should feel safe on the streets of our cities, and so should our overseas and interstate visitors.

Roel Loopers

WHERE IS REAL GOVERNMENT ACTION ON HOMELESSNESS?

 

One of the problems going to many forums about homelessness and (affordable) housing is that you have heard it all before and wonder when the action will start and the talk fests stop.

Nothing I heard last night at the Politics in the Pubs event by the Fremantle Network at The Local Hotel was new, but that isn’t the fault of the two speakers, who were equally frustrated about it.

Sam Knight of RUAH said the fundamental thing is that homeless people need homes, but they also need support workers to help with social, health and mental health problems.

The cost on the health system by not supplying sufficient affordable houses is enormous and governments fail to recognise that.

Victor Crevatin, the Director of Housing and Support Services at Fremantle’s St Patrick’s, said St Pat’s has been working with homeless people since 1971 and in 2017 had supplied 31,000 meals and 1,200 clothes to those in need, and 500 people were given accommodation.

Like Sam Knight, Crevatin said it is not just about providing houses, but that it needs support services to get people back on track.

There is the need to turn the generational NIMBY attitude around, and it is all about education to get rid of the bullshit myth about affordable housing and anti-social behaviour!

Sam Knight said it was also about offering the right mix of housing. We need to give choices about accommodation from shared accommodation to single apartments. “What are the best low-cost constructions we can do?” We need to recognise housing has a social and health aspect!

As I heard a week earlier at the Fremantle Safety Forum, there appears to be a serious issue with support agencies not collaborating well and the state government should do something about trying to streamline that, so that there is better coordination and information sharing, to the benefit of those in need.

Comment: I have supported the Fremantle Network since it started and have very often found the meetings very good, but the nice bloke, who shall remain unnamed, who took over from Rachel Pemberton to organise the Fremantle Network loves hogging the limelight. Last night again his introduction of the topic and two expert speakers was far too long. Just a short and succinct intro will do instead of babbling on for 15 minutes. Participate in the Q&A as Rachel used to do, but don’t give a very long speech. It’s not about you!

Roel Loopers

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