Numbers of homeless fall in region
Homelessness figures in the Kimberley fell 33 per cent from 2011 to 2016, according to new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
The overall number of homeless people has fallen from 1821 to 1205.
ABS determines someone as homeless if they fit into one of six categories — people sleeping out or in improvised dwellings; people in support accommodation for homeless; those temporarily staying with others; boarding house lodgers; other temporary lodgings; and people living in “severely” crowded dwellings.
Homes considered severely overcrowded would require four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate everyone who usually lived there. The category makes up the most homeless people in the country, having increased from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016, and the WA region, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the State.
In the Kimberley, numbers in the category have dropped from 1429 to 737. Most categories have declined except for those living in accommodation for the homeless, which increased from 33 to 99 and people living in improvised dwellings or sleeping out, which has gone up from 134 to 154. WA Department of Communities housing assistant director-general Greg Cash said public housing properties in the Kimberley had increased from 1703 in 2012 to 1875 in 2017.
In the same period the public housing wait list for the region went from 1250 to 1017 and the priority list from 257 to 139.
“The increase in public housing stock in the Kimberley, combined with a general reduction in demand for housing, has potentially contributed to easing the pressure of homelessness in the area,” Mr Cash said.
He said thanks to a Commonwealth funding through the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing, which operated under a different name from 2008-2016, $1.156 billion had been provided to WA to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people in remote communities and regional towns including new housing construction and supporting education and employment outcomes.