Freo's View

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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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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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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