Council Talks

Shelter WA along with the Youth Affairs Council of WA (YACWA) met with City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas and Chief Executive officer Michelle Reynolds to discuss the solutions that will end rough sleeping within the City.

Shelter’s CEO Michelle Mackenzie presented Mayor Zempilas with his pledge signed at last year’s Lord Mayoral Forum highlighting the five core strategic areas to end homelessness which formed the focus of discussions with the two peak bodies.

Rough Sleeping

The City endorsed its Rough Sleeper Plan last month in a bid to reduce the escalating problem when a rough sleeper count in October 2020 found more than 270 people on the streets in the CBD and surrounds.

With Winter coming Councillors repeated the need for action in its last meeting proposing the investigation of a “trial to utilise an unused nighttime space as accommodation for rough sleepers in the CBD”.

This concept is in addition to a Safe Night Space (women’s only) which will support 30 women each night, operating 7 days a week. Ruah Community Services have been appointed as the successful service provider to lead the delivery of this much needed service.

The City’s support of Housing First initiatives were also discussed.

Michelle Mackenzie said the meeting was positive and good interim options to support people who are sleeping rough whist the Housing First Model is progressed.

“The Council is taking a leadership role, working with other local governments, the State government, the community, our sector and importantly people with lived experience to ensure that interim solutions are done well,” she said. “The evaluation of this trial should provide valuable learnings and we look forward to working with this City as the trial progresses.”

[L-R] Acting CEO YACWA, Sandy Kiernan; City of Perth CEO Michelle Reynolds; Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas; Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie; YACWA CEO Ross Wortham.