Homelessness Week 2018 – ‘There’s always something you can do’
Homelessness Week was a national week of events that raised awareness about homelessness in our community.
In 2018, it ran from Monday, 6 August to Sunday, 12 August.
Ending homelessness can seem beyond the reach of individuals, but as we demonstrated this year, there are actions – large and small – that will make a real difference. And the importance of the voice of people with lived experience of homelessness in informing all that we do.
Shelter WA, with the support of the Homelessness Week Reference Group, welcomed over 220 people to four main events. A further ten sponsored events occurred across WA, from Esperance to Meekatharra.
Shelter WA’s hosted events included:
The Sector Update, which gathered speakers from government and the not-for-profit sector.
Speakers updated attendees on the policy and strategy work that has occurred over the last 12 months. They explored how the work fits together and what our next steps will be. A highlight of the event was the presentation by the Hon Simone McGurk MLA of $750,000 to the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and Shelter WA, to commence delivery of the Alliance’s 10-Year Strategy to End Homelessness.
Landlords Making A Difference was a fast-paced look at the many things landlords can do to prevent and respond to homelessness. Presenters from the Department of Mining, Industry Regulation and Safety, the RSPCA, the Equal Opportunity Commission, Tenancy WA, WACOSS and REIWA were warmly received.
At the Launch of Homelessness in WA, Minister Simone McGurk launched a report commissioned by the Department of Communities and prepared by Professor Paul Flatau of the Centre for Social Impact. Attendees commented on the quality of the evidence presented for key areas of need in homelessness in WA.
The final event of the week, a Couch Conversation, involved powerful stories from 2 people with lived experience of homelessness.
Couch Conversations were held all over WA by community groups and service providers. They were part of a concerted effort to see the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness elevated during Homelessness Week 2018.
The next twelve months will be a busy time in homelessness policy and action.
Implementation of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness’ 10-Year Strategy has begun in earnest. As the backbone organisation for the work of the Alliance, Shelter WA is pulling together a team to deliver the program of developing location- and cohort-specific action plans to end homelessness.
In 2019, the team will also be developing a robust framework to measure progress, and working with private-sector partners to increase housing supply. An area of strong focus for the team will be engaging deeply with people with lived experience of homelessness.
The WA Council on Homelessness and the Supporting Communities Forum Working Group on Homelessness will continue to be key mechanisms ensuring that the perspectives of government and the sector are aligned, and that work is not duplicated. Through its participation in both groups, Shelter WA will provide strong leadership in this area.
The State Government is developing a new State Homelessness Strategy. This work, being progressed through the Supporting Communities Forum, has strong links with the community sector and ten year action plan.
It will bring together what government can do and include new approaches to the procurement and commissioning of services, informed by Machinery of Government changes to the Department of Communities and evidence based responses.
Shelter WA will retain its focus on systemic issues that contribute to homelessness. Over the next year, key opportunities for influence include the upcoming review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the White Paper on planning reform.
We will be pursuing practical opportunities for increased supply as our involvement in the planning and delivery of the State Government’s Metronet project continues. We will also continue to advocate for appropriate commissioning approaches for homelessness support services across the State.
With a commitment to collaboration, and to achieving positive outcomes in partnership with people who have experienced homelessness, this is a pivotal year in our journey to ending homelessness in Western Australia.
Shelter WA would like to give special thanks to the sponsors and supporters of Homelessness Week 2018: Lotterywest; Department of Communities and Beyond Bank.
Only through our combined, collective efforts we will make a significant impact. Shelter WA looks forward to working across the sector, with government, industry and the community to end homelessness in Western Australia.