Cam­paign for cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion

Southern Telegraph - - News - David Sal­vaire

A lo­cal not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions’ am­bi­tious plan to pro­vide emer­gency re­lief for the home­less is gain­ing mo­men­tum, with a ma­jor pro­posal sub­mit­ted to State and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

The Catalpa Home­less Foun­da­tion was launched last year by Michael Kier­nan, who has been cam­paign­ing to es­tab­lish a shel­ter fa­cil­ity that will even­tu­ally see peo­ple helped into em­ploy­ment and per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Mr Kier­nan said he hoped the new pro­posal, which was handed to the Pre­mier and lo­cal gov­ern­ments, would move the project closer to be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

“It’s quite clear that there’s the po­lit­i­cal will to meet the im­me­di­ate re­quire­ments of peo­ple with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is­sues and rough sleep­ers,” he said.

“But the bu­reau­crats can be­come the gate­keep­ers in these projects and in­vari­ably pro­pos­als can get bogged down, mean­while there are thou­sands of peo­ple who are in need of emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion.”

Mr Kier­nan said the project would work as an over­flow to the ser­vices of­fered by or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Lucy Saw Women’s Refuge Cen­tre and the Sal­va­tion Army.

The foun­da­tion aims to break the cy­cle of home­less­ness through fill­ing gaps in the cur­rent sys­tems and ser­vices, with a three-pronged plan.

Us­ing 8ha of land leased by the coun­cil through an agree­ment with the State Gov­ern­ment, Catalpa wants to pro­vide safe and san­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties for peo­ple sleep­ing rough to use.

This would in­clude an au­tho­rised park­ing and safe sleep­ing area.

From there, the foun­da­tion wants to help pro­vide a step­ping stone from the street to in­de­pen­dent liv­ing by of­fer­ing as­sis­tance in get­ting peo­ple back into work, pro­vid­ing coun­selling and help­ing those who want to ap­ply for hous­ing. The or­gan­i­sa­tion also wants to es­tab­lish so­cial en­ter­prises, with projects to over­see the run­ning of a mar­ket gar­den and a pro­gram to re­pair re­cy­cled fur­ni­ture.

Aside from the leas­ing of land, Mr Kier­nan said the project would come at no cost to the State or lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

On a typ­i­cal night in WA, about 9600 peo­ple are home­less, with one in ev­ery 3000 peo­ple sleep­ing rough.

Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics, the great­est cause of home­less­ness stems from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or re­la­tion­ships (44 per cent), fi­nan­cial is­sues (20 per cent) and ac­com­mo­da­tion prob­lems (18 per cent).

Pic­ture: David Sal­vaire

Catalpa Home­less Foun­da­tion’s Michael Kier­nan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.