Shelter WA congratulates the City of Stirling on the endorsement of their Homelessness Strategy 2020-2022 and Implementation Plan, and approval of a Prototype Project which will apply best practice approaches, models of intervention and knowledge in the City’s context.
The Plan has outcome measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the Prototype and the Plan including the percentage of situational homelessness connected to homelessness providers, the number of situation and episodic homelessness people support to find a home and the percentage of chronic homeless people with a case management plan.
The Strategy was developed by a Homelessness Working Group and provides the framework for an effective and coordinated response with key service providers and government. The Plan outlines a compassionate and effective response to this social issues in collaboration with the State Government, services providers and the community.
The Strategy’s vision is that Community members in the City of Stirling are supported to find a safe place of their choice to call home. The Strategy has three core areas:
- Prevention and early intervention;
- Engagement, information and support and
- Build capacity.
The 2016 Census identified 520 people in the City experiencing homelessness.
The City has identified service gaps within their own local government area – for example there are no service providers funded within the City to address homelessness through outreach or casework. Other areas identified are the need to increase affordable, suitable housing options and choice and ensure that the City has a unified and sensitive approach to people experiencing homelessness.
Hard to Reach People
The City will work with the Department of Communities for support with training and development, possible funding and development of models tailored to the City’s needs. The implementation plan outlines the actions it will take to address this. The Prototype project will focus on engaging with hard to reach people as a long term outcome and test the required approach for this group of people.
During the pandemic, people who were doing it touch, and experiencing housing insecurity contacted the City for assistance. A partnership developed between the City, the St Vincent de Paul Society, Second Bite and Shared the Dignity showed the important role of local government as collaborator and facilitator. Over 18,000 people were assisted with food and care packages to people who experienced homelessness or were doing it tough. The Council played a facilitating role and provided venues and staff to assist putting hampers together. Rangers were proactive providing emergency care packs to people who were sleeping rough.
Responding to Community Needs
Local government has a key role in preventing and ending homelessness. As the sphere of government closest to the community Councils can provide information, linkages and work with and support service providers. Also utilise their land and assets, and town planning functions, to create communities that are inclusive and affordable. Council rangers, parks and gardens staff and staff in recreation centres and libraries are often a touch point for people with no place to live and have a key role in connecting people to local supports. This is responding to Community needs and expectations of local government.
Shelter WA looks forward to continuing our work with the WA Local Government Association and Councils to support them as they address homelessness in their local communities.