Rough sta­tis­tics point to cri­sis

Kalamunda Reporter - - Homelessness Week - Lau­ren Pi­lat

HOME­LESS­NESS does not have a post­code and does not dis­crim­i­nate based on age, gen­der or back­ground.

There are cur­rently more than 116,000 Aus­tralians who do not have a place to call home and more than 9000 of those peo­ple live in WA.

Home­less­ness Week is be­ing held this week.

St Vin­cent de Paul (Vin­nies) WA home­less­ness ser­vice man­ager Chrissie Smith said one in ev­ery eight Aus­tralians or 2.35 mil­lion peo­ple had ex­pe­ri­enced home­less­ness and one in 12 had slept rough.

On top of that, Ms Smith said each night more than 41,000 peo­ple were sleep­ing in “se­verely over­crowded” dwellings and an­other 6000 sleep­ing in im­pro­vised dwellings, in­clud­ing tents or out in the el­e­ments, with many of those chil­dren and women.

“More than 17,000 Aus­tralian chil­dren un­der the

age of 12 have no per­ma­nent ad­dress and 10,900 young peo­ple aged 12 to 18 are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness; most are es­tranged from their fam­i­lies,” she said.

Re­flect­ing the na­tional statis­tic that 44 per cent of peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness were women, Ms Smith said there had been a “dra­matic” in­crease in the num­ber of fe­males ac­cess­ing lo­cal ser­vices.

“Vin­nies Tom Fisher House in North­bridge is a respite and en­gage­ment ac­com­mo­da­tion ser­vice pro­vid­ing sup­port in a warm and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment for long-term rough sleep­ers with com­plex needs and over the past year this ser­vice has seen a dra­matic 71 per cent in­crease in women aged over 50 ac­cess­ing our fa­cil­ity,” she said.

“There seems to be no sin­gle rea­son for older women be­com­ing home­less but a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors such as men­tal health is­sues, in­ad­e­quate hous­ing, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, in­suf­fi­cient sav­ings, mar­riage break­downs and the death of a part­ner or spouse.”

Each day, Vin­nies WA re­ceives about 200 to 250 calls for re­lief as­sis­tance. To do­nate to Vin­nies or to find out how to vol­un­teer, visit vin­nies.org.au or email vol­un­teer@svd­pwa. org.au.

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