Break­ing down the bar­ri­ers

Geraldton Guardian - - NEWS -

Stake­hold­ers have con­gre­gated at Ger­ald­ton Lot­ter­ies House to tackle home­less­ness, with some sug­gest­ing one bar­rier to pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance is that ser­vices don’t meet in­di­vid­ual needs, such as male vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, who have chil­dren in their care.

Oth­ers flagged bar­ri­ers in Ger­ald­ton such as a lack of ac­com­mo­da­tion for larger fam­i­lies, lim­ited beds, staffing and re­sources, fund­ing con­straints and time-lim­ited sup­port, lack of self-awareness, too many kids go­ing into care and not enough pre­ven­ta­tive measures, low lit­er­acy, trans­port is­sues and wait­ing lists for ser­vices.

The work­shop was held last Tues­day by Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties rep­re­sen­ta­tives, who said lo­cal feed­back would be in­cor­po­rated into the State Gov­ern­ment’s 10-Year Strat­egy on Home­less­ness.

Hous­ing pol­icy man­ager Emma Colombera said a wealth of feed­back was re­ceived.

“We had dis­cus­sions on pro­vid­ing more wrap around care, set­ting up a one-stop shop for all client needs, and the idea that some­times we tend to put peo­ple into the mould of a ser­vice, rather than mould­ing a ser­vice around a per­son,” she said.

“We dis­cussed the is­sue of fund­ing and there were sug­ges­tions of five or 10-year con­tracts to give staff cer­tainty and stop churn­ing through the pro­cure­ment process.

“It was also high­lighted that avail­able hous­ing or ac­com­mo­da­tion doesn’t al­ways meet the needs of larger fam­i­lies or sin­gle peo­ple.

“Some­one brought up the Com­mon­wealth role in wel­fare and tax, com­ment­ing that Cen­tre­link doesn’t give peo­ple enough to sur­vive on.

“It was also sug­gested we need to en­able com­mu­nity sup­port, as gov­ern­ment can of­ten get in the way and we need it to get out of the way and let funded ser­vices do what they do best.”

Ser­vice providers took on ques­tions about spe­cific needs lo­cals have in terms of hav­ing a safe and se­cure home, how providers can sup­port peo­ple to feel con­nected to their com­mu­nity and what strate­gies can be used to help peo­ple main­tain their in­de­pen­dence.

Other ques­tions in­cluded what could be im­ple­mented that is big­ger and bolder than any­thing be­fore, what could be en­acted that is the op­po­site of what is ex­pected and what ser­vice providers would do if there were no rules.

Ms Colombera said many or­gan­i­sa­tions were rep­re­sented and all brought a dif­fer­ent ex­per­tise, which will help in­form the State’s strat­egy.

In Oc­to­ber, depart­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives will travel through re­gional cen­tres in WA, ask­ing ser­vice providers to ex­plain how the State can help al­le­vi­ate home­less­ness at a lo­cal level, and help the 9000 peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence home­less­ness on any given night.

Stake­hold­ers rep­re­sented at the Ger­ald­ton fo­rum in­cluded lo­cal po­lice, Desert Blue Con­nect, Mis­sion Aus­tralia, MLC Dar­ren West’s of­fice and Sun City Care.

Home­less­ness Aus­tralia says that hav­ing no per­ma­nent home leaves peo­ple vul­ner­a­ble to long-term un­em­ploy­ment and chronic ill-health.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.