Car Park trial for homeless

• The designated site.

MOBILE homeless service providers will be shepherded into one car park in East Perth after the city council adopted a 12-month trial that was only run past a select few charities.

The trial at Moore Street in East Perth is part of a plan to issue permits to homeless services so their activities can be co-ordinated, and duplication and waste reduced.

About 50 providers were involved in early consultation and many supported accreditation, but restricting them to one site was conjured up by a much smaller committee chaired by Perth council commissioner Gaye McMath and Perth state Labor MP John Carey.

The committee had representatives from Perth, Vincent, South Perth, Victoria Park and Subiaco councils, the Department of Communities, WA Police, Royal Perth Hospital, and community services minister Simone McGurk. They were joined by nine larger non-profit homeless services.

If the site isn’t deemed appropriate when the other providers move in, the council will offer a back-up near City Farm.

Ron Reid from Perth Homeless Support Group hadn’t heard of the one-site-for-all, but after looking into Moore Street is willing to give it a shot.

Mr Reid says PHSG’s Sunday morning meals at Wellington Square “functions remarkably well. We have a lot of first nations people, they feel very safe there”.

Moore Street was picked out of seven shortlisted options; it has no nearby residents or businesses, is close to Tranby Centre and other services around Piccadilly Square, has toilets, power and water, and is accessible via McIver train station.

Commissioners voted to spend $144,350 preparing Moore Street at the November 26 council meeting, with money fornightly security guards, a drink fountain and lights.

The city says it not planning to fine groups that don’t use Moore Street, but will “discourage” rule breakers.

Mr Carey says it’s worth trialling one site, even for a year.

“The [site] they’ve selected is a good location, it is a safe area, it is away from residents and businesses so we don’t get that conflict, so let’s give it our best shot.”

The accreditation system is due to be finalised in December and will run 12 months from January 2020.

by DAVID BELL

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