Homeless people from ‘Tent City’ and across Perth will march on Parliament this morning to demand immediate action on WA’s housing and homelessness crisis. The march will join homeless protestors already camped on the steps at Parliament.
A march will depart from the city after 9am this morning and arrive at Parliament by 11am, shortly before a special joint sitting commences. It is expected that politicians from across politics will join the protestors on the steps as they demand safe, secure shelter and suitable long term housing.
Lead organiser Anselm Taylor, 51, who has been on the public housing waitlist since 2017 and has recently resided at Tent City, said: “It’s not safe to be on these streets. We need the government to help us get housing now so we can get off these streets and be back together with our families. I’ve lost family on the streets. It’s not safe for our women and children, and it’s killing our people. We need houses now so we can move forward together, for all of us. I’ve organised this protest so that everyone can see that were serious and we want to get off these streets – it ends now.”
Anselm, known as ‘Uncle Ampy’, has a major heart condition that has caused him to have several heart attacks in recent months. He is still sleeping rough in the Perth CBD.
Aunty Mingli Wanjurri McGlade
Senior Bibbulmun elder Aunty Mingli Wanjurri McGlade, who will welcome people to Parliament this morning, said: “Shelter is a fundamental human need and a basic human right. The numbers of people dying on our street should shame the government when a state as rich as ours cannot give shelter to the people who need it most.”
More than 1,000 are homeless on Perth streets and over 10,000 are homeless across WA. 15,000 families are waiting for public housing assistance. Over 1,000 public houses have been lost under this Labor government. While Victoria has just announced the construction of 12,000 public houses, the WA government has committed to just 260 a year over the next decade.
Megan is the Director of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, who will speak at today’s protest, said:
“Victoria at long last is moving to a housing first approach for its houseless and homeless. Despite a long way to go, they have taken the first steps in this journey. Ideally, it would be best if these steps became a sprint and they provide enough housing for all the houseless, the majority of whom are children, and the homeless, who each day become more damaged.
However, when we compare Victoria’s response to Western Australia, our government remains the back water of this nation – doing next to nothing for our most vulnerable.”
50 people currently seek shelter at Tent City in Perth CBD. Assaults, abuse and violence from predators are increasing. Despite many proposed solutions during the Lord Mayor campaign, vulnerable people are still sleeping in tents without basic security.
Meanwhile, an empty backpackers’ hostel with 50 beds sits ready and vacant in the heart of the city. Identified as a potential solution during the election campaign, it is available now as a supported, transitional accommodation solution. Tent City could be solved tomorrow as part of a culturally appropriate and comprehensive program that could subsequently be applied more widely to rough sleeping in Perth. Wraparound supports, funding and a viable, available site are ready to roll out tomorrow.
House the Homeless
A spokesperson for House the Homeless WA said: “WA’s housing and homelessness crisis is destroying families, taking lives and betraying our children. Without the basic stability and security of a safe home to raise their family, our people are abandoned on the street or in high risk and inhumane living environments. This leads directly and inevitably to poor health, mental illness, family and domestic violence, abuse, death and suicide.
We will never Close the Gap in First Nations injustice and disadvantage without a serious and sustained commitment to provide homes for the families who need them. People released from prison or discharged from hospital without a home to go end up straight back in the system. Families that lose their homes also lose their children. We will not break this cycle without meeting the basic human right, and fundamental need, for safe and secure shelter.”
For further information or interviews, please contact:
Jesse Noakes | 0401 233 965 Media Coordinator