Charity crackdown

A PRIVATE school which bussed in students to hand out snacks to homeless people in Weld Square could be banned from doing it in the future.

Perth Labor MP John Carey wants to crack down on  unsanctioned charities that he believes are doing more bad than good.

The Voice recently received a call from a homeless woman who’d said she and others had been given blankets that stank of petrol fumes.

She told us she suspected the blankets had sat in a pile by an exhaust pipe, while a car engine was running, as a well-intending good samaritan loaded up their boot.

Mr Carey chairs the City Homeless Working Group with City of Perth commissioner Gaye McMath.

The group is trying to set up an accreditation system for homeless services providers so only bonafide organisations can operate.

“Some people say ‘this is red tape’ and we’re stopping people from helping,” he says, but notes “we desperately need more coherence, more coordination of services in the city and a focus on ending homelessness and not just managing homelessness”.

Fly-by-night

He says the inconsistency is unfair on homeless people when these fly-by-night operations swoop in, hand out a few supplies and then disappear.

“We don’t need more groups popping up with volunteers who aren’t trained to deal with mental health, alcoholism or other issues, and who aren’t focused on the main game.”

He says it’s hampering the good work of well-researched, well-trained providers like Ruah, Uniting Care and St Barts.

The accreditation system will also involve setting out different precincts, so actually-competent operators can properly focus their efforts and not double up.

Vincent council is also on board with the working group, and next week councillors will vote on being part of the accreditation trial starting in August next year.

A staff report to councillors says they’ve had many problems with pop-ups at Weld Square, where Manna Inc is the only approved operator but many others swing by: “The city’s rangers have moved-on a number of unapproved service providers although many simply reappear whereas others have simply refused to discontinue their efforts given the current extent of people experiencing homelessness.”

Mr Carey says the working group’s next goal is to have a 24/7 facility to help homeless people get into stable housing.

The working group is focused on short-term priorities as a stop-gap, while it awaits the state government’s 10-year strategy to end homelessness by 2028.

by DAVID BELL

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