Cash to help rough sleepers

• UnitingCare West CEO  Amanda Hunt (left) and MP John Carey (right) with Ian and Holly Rose at the launch of When There’s No Place to Call Home.

THE McGowan government has invested $1.5 million to tackle homelessness in Perth and Vincent, ahead of a 10-year homelessness strategy pledged before the end of the year.

A third of the funding will go towards on-the-ground assistance for rough sleepers provided by Uniting Care West’s Tranby Centre in Northbridge, whiel will now be open 7am to 7pm every day.

Perth Labor MP John Carey said having the centre open longer would give police and outreach workers somewhere to take rough sleepers where they could have access to support services.

“That’s why this is so critical, because it is the first place workers can make contact with the rough sleepers,” Mr Carey said.

“It’s true to say that many homeless people are affected by deep issues such as mental health, drugs or alcohol, and while people sometimes say ‘why don’t you plonk them in that building over there’ you have to develop a relationship and talk about their issues so they want to get off the streets.”

Currently, none of the City of Perth’s drop-in centres are open after 2pm on weekdays or after midday on Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Carey said while Opposition leader Liza Harvey’s criticism of Perth as full of homeless “meth zombies” had shone a light on the issue, he’d been working on these initiatives for 18 months.

A further $550,000 will keep the youth homelessness service Foyer Oxford in Leederville open, along with funds to approximately the same value provided by Anglicare WA.

A new Anglicare-led Home Stretch program with get more than $400,000 to provide increased stability and support to kids transitioning from out-of-home care to independence once they turn 18, when they are at risk of becoming homeless.

The program provides housing, pathways to education, training and employment and practical, one-on-one assistance.

WA’s first 10-year Strategy on Homelessness is overdue, but it will follow in the last quarter of the year. The strategy is the first of its kind in WA, something Mr Carey says is astouning.

On Wednesday community services minister Simone McGurk launched the book When There’s No Place To Call Home, which features a collection of personal stories from Western Australians who have experienced homelessness.

by ALEX MURFETT and STEVE GRANT

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