It has been more than a decade since the Council to Homeless Persons national publication Parity profiled the challenges of homelessness in our state.
A comparison of titles from each edition shows a change in direction. “Responding to Homelessness in Western Australia” (2012) replaced with a new narrative: “Ending Homelessness in Western Australia” (2022). The focus on “ending” no accident, there have been major shifts in the state’s homelessness response.
As Parity highlights in its pages, the WA service system continues to innovate.
There is fresh impetus from the introduction of evidence-based Housing First programs by homelessness services, the implementation of the Foyer model in the youth sector, the launch of the end homelessness strategy from the WA Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH), the growth of Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations and under the leadership of the Hon. Simone McGurk MLA the WA Government’s development of All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020–2030 in partnership with the community sector.
This magazine contains articles on: All Paths Lead to a Home; the work of WAAEH in progressing an end homelessness agenda; the Perth Zero and 20 Lives 20 Homes Housing First projects, and other innovative housing projects such as the rapid access to housing program as part of Entrypoint; ending Aboriginal homelessness through strong ACCO-led programs which also includes a Housing First component; the voice of lived experience of homelessness; responses to domestic and family violence, a major driver of homelessness in Australia and programs to end youth homelessness.
Articles are supplemented with a series of opinion pieces by leaders in the homelessness sector and forewords from the Minister for Homelessness, the Hon. John Carey MLA and the Director General Department of Communities, Mike Rowe.
In her editorial, the Chief Executive Officer of the Council to Homeless Persons, Jenny Smith argues that All Paths Lead to a Home provides “the foundation for a paradigm shift in the response to homelessness in that state (WA) and beyond”.
“All Paths Lead to a Home is unique among homelessness strategies in clearly articulating an ambition and commitment to actually end homelessness in WA,” she said.
“The foundation for a paradigm shift.”
“It will be important All Paths Lead to a Home fully fulfills its intention to embrace a Housing First approach and strategy as fundamental to the service response to homelessness in WA.
“As always, government responsibility for social housing is the uninvited guest at the table in all discussions of the role of government in ending homelessness.”
The role of government is something the Minister is aware of writing: “I know the responsibility that now rests on my shoulders to drive positive change” Hon. John Carey MLA wrote in his foreword as Minister for Homelessness.
“I want to assure the Western Australia community: the McGowan Government is committed to tackling the issue head on. That’s why we have established a new portfolio dedicated entirely to addressing homelessness in Western Australia.
“While significant progress has been made, we still have a long way to go.”
In echoing challenging times, Mike Rowe Director General Department of Communities brings circumstances the publishment of Parity finds ourselves in.
“Over the last few years, the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought unprecedented and unforeseen challenges and has highlighted the importance of ensuring that every person in Western Australia has a safe place to call home,” he writes.
“I would like to acknowledge the work of frontline in keeping people safe and all workers who have been keeping our services running throughout these difficult times, ensuring that our most valuable members of our community have access to support and essential services.”
At a launch event for the edition three authors spoke about their contributions to the magazine.
Professor Paul Flatau the Director of the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia who helped to put together the 2012 edition of Parity gave an overview of each of the chapters in the magazine.
Jaron Green has lived experience of homelessness, trauma, and addiction. He spoke at the launch passionately about how his story forms part of the voice of lived experience.
There are three not to be missed lived experience articles in addition to Jason’s from Jonathan Shapiera and an article about Deborah Ralph-Kafarela’s STREET to STREET program.
“We can change this.”
Leanne Strommen, contributed her opinion piece from her observations as General Manager Community Services of Centrecare Inc.
“We have to work together with people impacted by homelessness, and we have to source more long-term accommodation options going forward,” she said. “We can change this. We have to change this. And there has to be more housing made available.”
With its stunning front page artwork from First Nations artist Nerolie Bynder, this edition of Parity is a must have for anyone who wants an understanding of work being done in Western Australia to end homelessness. You don’t need to be an academic or work in the homelessness space to understand and appreciate the work being done, and the positive impact of appropriate housing and service support to people who experience homelessness.
It truly reflects its title of “Ending Homelessness in Western Australia”.
The support of the Council to Homeless Persons, the WA Department of Communities and the community sector edition sponsors were instrumental in the production of this edition.