Supporting communities forum homelessness working group communiqué

On Thursday, 10 February 2022, the co-chairs of the Supporting Communities Forum Homelessness Working Group, convened a second meeting of the Working Group, hosted at the Department of Communities in Fremantle.

The co-chairs of this group are: Mike Rowe, Department of Communities, Debra Zanella, Ruah Community Services, and Tina Pickett, Noongar Mia Mia.

Homelessness Portfolio

Members were briefed about the creation of a new homelessness portfolio and the appointment of the Hon. John Carey MLA as the Minister for Homelessness. To support Minister Carey’s focus on stewardship, coordination, strategic planning and practices related to homelessness, the Department of Communities has established an Office of Homelessness led by Jacqui Herring, Executive Director Homelessness.

The Department of Communities will seek insight from Minister Carey regarding his expectations of the Supporting Communities Forum, the Homelessness Working Group and the Office of Homelessness.

Homelessness Action Plan

Members discussed the potential impact of these changes on the governance of the Strategy and implementation of the Homelessness Action Plan 2020-2025, noting that a partnership between government and the sector is key for addressing homelessness. Members considered the Homelessness Working Group an appropriately targeted and tailored body to drive implementation of the Strategy.

The Homelessness Working Group reviewed a traffic light status report about the actions within the Homelessness Action Plan 2020-2025. Members noted that reported that overall progress against the Action Plan appears satisfactory, although there are a small number of actions that are off track or delayed and will require close monitoring by the Working Group. The group requested additional insight into accountability for each action and statements of operational progress. These additions will contribute to an enhanced monitoring process.

Members also identified the need to ensure the Strategy did not become ‘shelf-bound’ and requested that the Department of Communities clarify connections between implementation of the Strategy and other activity, such as the sector commissioning work. The impact of COVID on the delivery of actions was noted as a potential risk to the Strategy.

The next meeting of the Homelessness Working Group is scheduled for Friday, 6 May 2022. More information about the Homelessness Working Group can be found at the Supporting Communities Forum website.

Information will be updated regularly as work progresses and as meetings occur.

Homelessness Working Group Membership

The Homelessness Working Group welcomed three new members, extending representation to include:

  • Martin Clery,  Department of Education.
  • Amity Hudson, WA Police Force.
  • Nicole Matthews, WA Local Government Association.

The new members join:

Debra Zanella Ruah Community Services
Tina Pickett Noongar Mia Mia
Mike Rowe Department of Communities
Jennifer McGrath Mental Health Commission
Kate Chaney Anglicare
Emma Jarvis Palmerston
Julie Waylen Diversity South
Sandy McKiernan Youth Advisory Council of Western Australia
Lorna Pritchard Lotterywest
John Berger WA Alliance to End Homelessness
Michelle Mackenzie Shelter WA
Sam Drury St Bart’s
Salim Youssef Ministerial Multicultural Advisory Council
Mark Petrich Department of Health
Kylie Maj Department of Justice