Department of Communities Homelessness Update

An update on the current work in the Department of Communities Homelessness Team.

Common Ground Mandurah

Community Services Minister Simone McGurk has unveiled the location and concept design of the new Common Ground facility in Mandurah. Construction will start next financial year, with the first residents to move in by 2024.

The facility will be located on the corner of Allnutt and Dower Streets, selected due to its proximity to shops, primary health services, public transport and recreation spaces.

The McGowan Government committed $28.1 million for the 50-apartment facility in the State Budget. Half of the apartments are reserved for people who are currently homeless (with people in the Mandurah area given priority), and 25 for low income earners. There will be businesses and spaces to socialise on the ground floor and a concierge available 24/7.

Homelessness Commissioning Approach

The Department of Communities is taking a coordinated approach to commissioning for services across four key areas, including homelessness, family and domestic violence, out-of-home care and child sexual abuse therapeutic services.

On Thursday, 23 September the Director General of Communities hosted a webinar to share information about Communities’ approach to commissioning across all four streams. In relation to homelessness, Communities will be commencing the transition of the current homelessness service system to a place-based, person centred approach as outlined in the Homelessness Service System Alignment Analysis and Roadmap Report released earlier this year.

To achieve this Communities will be undertaking a two-year trial with existing funded homelessness service providers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in the South West. Providers in other parts of the state will have their contracts extended until 30 June 2024. The South West trial will be evaluated and be used to inform future commissioning work.

Communities will be hosting a series of design labs to engage with stakeholders on this approach. Further information about the design labs and the homelessness commissioning approach, including a recording of the Director General’s webinar and presentation from 23 September 2021, is available here.

Supporting Communities Forum Homelessness Working Group

A working group has been established by the Supporting Communities Forum to deliver on the Forum’s Terms of Reference in relation to implementation of All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020–2030.

The group will be co-chaired by Deb Zanella, CEO of Ruah Community Services, and Mike Rowe, Director General of Department of Communities. The working group will continue the collaborative approach between government and the community sector that underpinned the development of the Strategy. Communities is currently working with the co-chairs to finalise membership of the group and arrangements for the first meeting.

Finding Home Program

Communities is continuing to work on options for the Find Home Program which will enable more stock to be sourced into the Finding Home program. Place-based options are being considered for Geraldton, Bunbury, Rockingham/Mandurah and Perth. It is anticipated that further information about targeted workshops to inform the program design and appropriate procurement method of the Finding Home Program will be held before the end of the year.

Local Government Homelessness Fund

Applications for the $6 million the Local Government Partnership Fund for Homelessness are now open and must be submitted to the Department of Communities before 4pm Friday, 15 October 2021. Further details about the Fund can be found at Local Government Partnership Fund for Homelessness.

Artists wanted for Boorloo Bidee Mia

Boorloo Bidee Mia’s reception area has been transformed with the completion of a vibrant mural by Aboriginal artist Kamsani (Kam) Bin-Salleh. Kam is descended from the Nimunburr and Yawuru people of the Kimberley and the Ballardong Noongar people of the Perth region. He was recognised as the 2018 WA Young Person of the Year for his efforts in using his artwork as a platform to share knowledge and educate others about Aboriginal culture.

Wungening Aboriginal Corporation manages the Boorloo Bidee Mia supported accommodation service in partnership with Noongar Mia Mia and is currently seeking expressions of interest from local Aboriginal artists to paint murals throughout the building. Interested artists can contact Eva Smith here for more information or (08) 9221 1411.

Further Information

If you have any further queries about these initiatives or Communities’ response to homelessness more broadly, email homelessness.strategy@communities.wa.gov.au.