City opens to home­less

Southern Telegraph - - News - Emily Sharp

The City of Kwinana has adopted a new pol­icy to ad­dress the in­crease in the num­ber of home­less peo­ple in the region.

The City has recog­nised the need for a uni­fied ap­proach to the is­sue and in­tro­duced the Home­less­ness Pol­icy to en­sure at-risk in­di­vid­u­als would be of­fered the help they need.

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams ad­mit­ted there was no easy so­lu­tion but said the City was com­mit­ted to mak­ing a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence.

“We want to make sure atrisk in­di­vid­u­als are get­ting ac­cess to the ser­vices they need; this is an is­sue that can­not be ig­nored,” she said.

“In 2014 the coun­cil de­vel­oped two com­mu­nity en­gage­ment po­si­tions to en­gage with, pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to and re­fer as ap­pro­pri­ate, at-risk in­di­vid­u­als ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so­cial dis­ad­van­tage to agen­cies that can pro­vide them with sup­port ser­vices.

“Af­ter the marked in­crease of home­less peo­ple pre­sent at Wells Park in late 2015, these of­fi­cers engaged with and have worked ef­fec­tively with the group, achiev­ing a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in home­less­ness.”

Dur­ing Perth Registry Week in Fe­bru­ary, four home­less peo­ple were iden­ti­fied in the Kwinana area with 11 home- less peo­ple re­ferred to the City’s ser­vices in April.

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Tom Wood said talk­ing about the is­sue was im­por­tant.

“Home­less peo­ple are just like us, it’s just their cir­cum­stances are a bit dif­fer­ent,” he said.

The newly adopted pol­icy will for­malise the coun­cil’s re­sponse by pro­vid­ing a def­i­ni­tion, a com­mit­ment to the pro­vi­sion of in­for­ma­tion, a com­mit­ment to work­ing with agen­cies and a com­mit­ment to ad­dress­ing the un­der­ly­ing causes of home­less­ness.

“Through a ro­bust and eq­ui­table ap­proach to ad­dress­ing home­less­ness, the City hopes to achieve a re­duc­tion in per­sons ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness, and as­so­ci­ated im­prove­ments in com­mu­nity health and well­be­ing,” Ms Adams said.

City of Kwinana com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cers Molly Ti­toko and Thomas Wood played a ma­jor role in the adop­tion of the Home­less­ness Pol­icy.

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