Comprehensive homelessness package to keep Western Australians safe

Posted on December 20, 2020
  • $6 million to partner and co-fund short-term homelessness projects
  • $39.3 million for a new Aboriginal short stay accommodation facility in Perth
  • $3.65 million to fund and expand the Street Doctor Program for more bulk-billed mobile clinics

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest $48.95 million in a significant and targeted homelessness package to help support vulnerable people.

As part of the package, $6 million will be allocated, in a specific fund, to support proposals that would ensure more on-the-ground homelessness initiatives tailored to differing local government areas’ needs.

In a first ever, a new Aboriginal short stay accommodation facility will be established to provide more temporary housing for Aboriginal people travelling to Perth for medical, cultural, family or personal reasons.

The new facility will be able to accommodate up to around 100 people at a time, support about 1,300 people a year, and will cost $39.3 million over the next four years to build and operate.

This facility will provide a good alternative to overcrowded inner city housing or for those sleeping rough.

It is expected it will be centrally located, near the city, in a culturally appropriate location, to be determined following consultation.

A $3.65 million investment will secure funding and expand the delivery of the Street Doctor Program, which provides a welcoming, fully bulk-billed mobile clinic.

Currently operating in Perth and Fremantle, the program services about 5,000 at risk and disadvantaged people each year with free health and mental health consultation, services and treatment.

The grant funding will help the Perth and Fremantle programs increase their mobile clinics and significantly multiply the number of people supported.

Operated by committed staff who have dedicated their work to improving health outcomes the program is made up of health teams including doctors, nurses, outreach workers, mental health outreach and social workers.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“Homelessness is complex, however we want our city, our suburbs and our towns to be a safe place where everyone has a safe and comfortable place to sleep.

“We’ve proven that we’re committed to delivering policies and initiatives that deliver results. 

“That’s evident from our track record in Government whereby we’ve delivered our commitments to protect vulnerable Western Australians and those rough sleepers.

“That’s why if my Government is re-elected, we will continue to deliver initiatives that benefit Western Australians in need.

“We will work closely with local governments, the local communities and the sector to ensure the best outcome is delivered.

“We understand that a whole raft of differing circumstances and factors contribute to people experiencing homelessness in WA, but we’re committed to tackling this complex problem the best way governments can.”

What the McGowan Labor Government has already delivered:

  • $222 million Housing and Homelessness Investment Package which includes:
    • o   $35 million for two common ground facilities and services to support evidence-based homelessness outcomes
    • the $34.5 million Housing First Homelessness Initiative to provide stable housing for 170 families a year across Perth, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury and Geraldton through rental subsidies
    • $150 million to build more than 500 social and affordable homes, plus refurbish 70 homes and;
    • $2.3 million for an online data and case management system to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness to find appropriate accommodation and services.
  • Social Housing Economic Recovery Package ($319 million) which includes the build or purchase of approximately 250 new dwellings, refurbishment of 1,500 social housing dwellings and maintenance for 3,800 regional social housing.
  • $25 million to develop a 16-bed youth mental health and alcohol and drug homlessness service
  • $10.5 million was provided to specialist homelessness services to address any increase in demand for support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the WA Recovery Plan.
  • $3.8 million to work with an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) on intensive intervention with rough sleepers campaign in the vicinity of Lord Street Bridge.
  • Launch of WA’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness.