SHELTER WA STATEMENT: COVID-19. 20 March 2020

These are unprecedented times for us all with the spread of COVID-19. The impact on services and their workforce is being felt, with agencies continuing to deliver good outcomes for clients under challenging circumstances. It’s especially concerning for those who are already at risk with no place to call home or experiencing housing insecurity.

COVID-19 lead group

Shelter WA have been working closely this week with social and affordable housing providers and homelessness service providers to understand the very real concerns and risks for staff, clients and tenants. From these meetings a COVID-19 lead homelessness group has been established by Shelter WA to drive and inform a sector response. Members of this group are:

  • Samantha Drury – CEO St Barts
  • John Berger – WA Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Mark Glasson – CEO Anglicare WA
  • Michael Piu – CEO St Pat’s
  • Michelle Mackenzie – CEO Shelter WA
  • Debra Zanella – CEO Ruah
  • Amanda Hunt – CEO UnitingCare West

This group will be meeting every two days for a sector pulse check and to drive input into communications, media engagement, and a package of resources and support needed by the sector to support their services, workforce and clients. A number of groups are focusing on specific streams such as supported accommodation, led by Natalie Sangalli from Access Housing, engagement hubs and outreach led by Amanda Hunt from UnitingCare West and public housing and evictions led by Jesse Noakes from Day Dawn.

Advocacy for resourcing and support

We are working closely with National Shelter on a federal package of support for the housing and homelessness services. Advocacy with State government is progressing in partnership with the sector and other PEAK bodies. Shelter WA sites on a COVID-19 whole of working government group, direct meetings with senior staff at the Department of Communities and at a Ministerial level. The key issues raised by the sector can be found here. Further consideration is being given on how we can support the sector during this time.

Media releases

Shelter WA yesterday issued a media release to a number of outlets across Western Australia and we are in the process of organising interviews and providing more information to these journalists.

On-line Resources

Shelter WA has created a dedicated COVID 19 section on the website, which is housing useful links including

  • Advice for your workforce
  • Links that have a social and affordable housing and homelessness focus, not just from Western Australia, but nationally and globally
  • General COVID-19 links from local government as well as local and national agencies
  • Shelter WA media releases and statements
  • Government responses that are specific to social and affordable housing and homelessness
  • Members information and responses

Staff

Skeleton staff are working from the office until further notice, meetings will be limited to telephone calls or web conferences. We are working continually to ensure that we can collaborate with all key stake holders and will continue to send communications in order to keep you up to date.

Information and engagement

We are organising a webinar for next week with Lisa Wood and Andrew Davies to talk about public health, primary care, and responses to Covid-19 in a housing and homelessness context. Details for this webinar will follow in the coming days.

Please keep an eye on our events section of the website – we will continue with critical engagement via ZOOM facilities.

Shared Good Practice

We understand that with limited resources that it can be difficult to create plans and resources, so we have asked that members and organisations to share good practice for the benefit of others in these difficult times. Contingency plans and response can be found on the website.

Updates

We will send updates each week, however if we feel that it is vital that you receive additional information, we will send out extra updates. In the meantime, please check the website regularly as this is being continually updated with resources as they become available.

How can you help?

Please share any links or resources that you think may be of assistance to others within this sector to comms@shelterwa.org.au or if you wish to put forward any questions information that can contribute to the sector response please email shelterwa@shelterwa.org.au