Housing, Health & Homelessness
On Census night 2016, it was estimated that over 9,000 people experience homelessness every night. Of this population around 1,000 were sleeping rough. There are currently over 1,100 people living in boarding and lodging style accommodation in WA of which a substantial number are vulnerable clients with a disability or a high prevalence of mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and other health issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for greater collaboration between the housing, health and homelessness sector if people experiencing homelessness are to be kept safe and well. People experiencing homelessness are at great risk of becoming sicker if they contract COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions.
If everybody had access to a safe, secure and affordable home along with the supports they require to maintain their home, the risk of them becoming unwell would reduce as would the chances of them becoming unwell in the first instance.
We could break the cycle of people being discharged from hospital into insecure accommodation or homelessness only to find themselves back in the public health system due to a lack of accommodations that enables them to recuperate.
A sharing of responsibilities between the Department of Health, Mental Health Commission and the Department of Communities means some people may fall through the cracks in the level of housing, homeless support and health services they receive.
Creating a greater awareness within the health system of the opportunities to reduce barriers and be more responsive to people experiencing homelessness, reducing the cycle of people in and out of the health system. We aim to learn from best practice on how this can be done well. Part of the outcome is to inspire thinking around system to change to better respond to the health and housings needs of people experiencing homelessness.
We will know we have made a difference through the number and diversity of participants and participant feedback at events, the number and type of traditional media stories and the likes and shares on social media.
What we want to achieve for the Western Australian community
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