Sup­port for men’s home­less cen­tre

Southern Telegraph - - News - Stu­art Hor­ton

A Warn­bro man who en­dured the hard­ship of be­ing a home­less sin­gle fa­ther 10 years ago says he would have greatly ben­e­fited from a fa­cil­ity such as the pro­posed shel­ter on Pen­guin Road, Shoal­wa­ter. Greg Wheare told the Sound

Tele­graph he strug­gled with­out any sup­port net­works south of the river at the time he sep­a­rated from the mother of his two chil­dren, whom he had sole care of, in­clud­ing a son with spe­cial needs.

Mr Wheare said he un­der­stood why res­i­dents neigh­bour­ing Penola House, which is sub­ject to a change of use ap­pli­ca­tion from St Pa­trick’s Com­mu­nity Sup­port Cen­tre, ob­jected but said the need for men’s ser­vices in Rock­ing­ham should out­weigh those con­cerns.

“Women, youth and home­less teens have places to go south of the river but for men there isn’t any­thing. Why not? What harm is it go­ing to do?” he said. “Men are play­ing catch-up in terms of ser­vices for the dis­ad­van­taged, men- tal health sup­port and hous­ing equal­ity, there are no sup­port net­works. (Penola House) would be a won­der­ful place for them to have and I would’ve ben­e­fited from a place like this 10 years ago.

“I un­der­stand there are con­cerns about not know­ing the peo­ple who will live there and what their back­grounds are, but that goes for all types of neigh­bours.

“What’s rel­e­vant here is help­ing home­less peo­ple get off the street. Every­one is en­ti­tled to a place to call home.”

Mr Wheare said he had a hard time read­just­ing into so­ci­ety.

“You have to re-pro­gram to live a nor­mal way of life and you can’t un­der­stand that un­less you’ve been through it,” he said.

“The con­cerns of nearby res­i­dents and fear of the un­known isn’t un­rea­son­able but it should come down to what’s im­por­tant — help­ing peo­ple rather than wor­ry­ing about what type of per­son they are.”

He said as a man who had “been down that road” he was honoured to have been in­vited to St Pat’s pre­sen­ta­tion to the neigh­bour­hood.

“It would be so good for Rock­ing­ham to have a place like this that we as a com­mu­nity can say we’re help­ing the home­less,” he said.

How­ever one of the main is­sues, ac­cord­ing to the group of res­i­dents who con­tacted the Sound last month to ex­press their con­cerns about the de­vel­op­ment, was a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from St Pat’s.

City of Rock­ing­ham is ac­cept­ing pub­lic sub­mis­sions on the pro­posal un­til next Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 12.

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