Pop-up beds not safe from red tape

Mr Zempilas launched his pop-up beds plan during his election

LORD MAYOR Basil Zempilas’s plan to set up pop-up beds in council carparks for people experiencing homelessness has been smothered by red tape.

Perth council will now open another bed-less night shelter in July at the Citiplace Community Centre after a report found it would cost $500,000 and take too long to bring it up to the standards required by the National Construction Code to accommodate people.

Mr Zempilas took his “Pop-up Places for Homeless People” policy to the last council election (“Baz’s plan: Let’s park homelessness,” Voice, September 1, 2020) and successfully moved a motion at the April 27 ordinary council meeting calling for locations to be identified.

Citiplace was among five possible venues looked at by staff, including the Pier Street, Cultural Centre and Wellington Street carparks and the old Perth Enterprise Centre on Stirling Street.

“Being located within the Perth Train Station complex, the area around Citiplace Community Centre is heavily trafficked during business hours and at night,” the report noted while recommending it as the preferred option.

“This has potential security advantages by providing passive surveillance during the evening and maintaining a range of positive interactions with the surrounding community.”

But the council backed away at the set-up price tag, going instead with the $27,900 option that would allow up to 15 men to “rest” on comfy chairs, beanbags and mats while watching some telly and engaging in “quiet conversation”.

“The service will be staffed by two support workers and two security personnel,” the report said.

“The safe shelter will be low-barrier for vulnerable rough sleepers and will be accessed by referral only.”

“Support workers will encourage people to attend hubs and appointments at services to access crisis, transitional and long-term housing options.”

The shelter is planned to be opened on July 5, a fortnight after opening a similar facility for women in East Perth.

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