Shelter WA congratulates the McGowan Government and Minister McGurk on the investment of $3.8M to provide homes and immediate support for the people currently living in tents in East Perth. This injection of funds is very welcome, as is a culturally owned and led response to this issue.
“This is a good outcome for the people camping in East Perth,” said Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA. “Hearing their stories of homelessness, and the impact of the years of waiting for a home on their lives, has been heartbreaking. I would like to acknowledge their strong, sustained advocacy and cultural strength that led to media and community concerns and to this new government investment.”
“However, tent city is just the visible tip of the iceberg”said Ms Mackenzie.
“The stories of the people in tent city has provided a glimpse of the devasting impact of homelessness. The 15,000 people on the waitlist for social housing, and the 9,000 plus people experiencing homelessness each night, also have a right to a safe, secure and affordable home. “
COVID-19 reinforced the importance of a home to stay healthy and well, exposing the cracks in social housing system.
“Housing is critical to ending homelessness” said Ms Mackenzie.
Short-term solutions are not the answer
As a community we need to shift our thinking from accepting that homelessness is inevitable and using temporary and transitional solutions, and to start focusing on proven permanent solutions. “The evidence of the Housing First model to end homelessness is resounding, along with culturally owned and led solutions. Programs in Western Australia such as the 50 lives 50 homes, 20 lives 20 homes and Wongee Mia, which is a family-centred approach to ending homelessness, have delivered positive housing outcomes for people.
An effective housing system is needed
A strong and robust social and affordable housing system is critical if we are to end homelessness in WA. We are acutely concerned with the lifting of the moratorium on rent increases and evictions in March that there will be a new wave of homelessness.
The time to invest in solutions is now.
Shelter WA congratulates the government on today’s announcement and urges government to build on this initiative with a larger program of investment into social and affordable housing and homelessness services.
“At a minimum we need an additional 2,500 new social homes per year over the next four years, and increased investment into services, if we are serious about ending homelessness” said Ms Mackenzie.
- Over 9,000 people experience homelessness every day across WA.
- Over 4,310 people access specialist homelessness services every day.
- Over 15,000 are on the wait list for social housing.
- There is a shortfall of 39,200 social and 19,300 affordable homes across Western Australia to meet current need
For media interviews with Michelle Mackenzie contact Shelter WA via email here. T: 0419 931 819
About – Shelter WA
Shelter WA brings together a strong coalition committed to diverse and affordable housing choice for all, with a particular focus on housing for people on very low to moderate incomes and groups that experience housing insecurity. Shelter WA undertakes research, engagement, policy development and strong advocacy to drive solutions to build an effective housing system and alleviate housing-related poverty. Our vision is that all people living in Western Australia have housing that enables them to thrive.