The McGowan Government will spend $3.8 million on intensive intervention for rough sleepers camping in the vicinity of Lord Street Bridge in East Perth, through a partnership between an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) and the Department of Communities.
The new funding, made available as part of the upcoming Mid-year Review, is a targeted investment for an innovative approach to supporting individuals and families into accommodation that is culturally led and will contribute to building the capacity of ACCOs to deliver services in Western Australia.
The decision to allocate the funding to an ACCO provider has been made in direct response to the needs of those rough sleeping at the Lord Street Bridge site, and will ensure that efforts to assist them are culturally responsive and appropriate.
Given the transient nature of rough sleepers in the Perth CBD, it is intended that this funding of a long-term approach to supporting people camping or rough sleeping will also support people in surrounding areas.
The funding will be used by the appointed ACCO or ACCOs over a two-year period to work closely with the rough sleeping cohort and other service providers through an intensive case management approach.
Immediate support will be offered to transition individuals and families into appropriate accommodation, which could include temporary accommodation, crisis accommodation or transitional accommodation. The support will be ongoing to protect those placements and support clients into long-term and sustainable housing pathways as they become available.
The new funding comes after ongoing collaboration between the Department of Communities and other State Government-funded service providers to support and accommodate people camping at Lord Street Bridge. They have been working closely with the rough sleeping cohort and each other to identify appropriate support, accommodation and housing solutions.
The Department of Communities has also been working with representatives from WA Police, the Public Transport Authority, Main Roads WA, the City of Perth, the Mental Health Commission and community service organisations to develop a co-ordinated plan that identifies practical solutions to supporting people and housing and accommodation options for rough sleepers at the Lord Street site.
In recent months, the Department of Communities and its community sector partners have connected 35 people at the site with short-term accommodation options.
The Department of Communities has also supported 13 people to return to country, while 18 assessments have been completed and referrals made to longer-term accommodation options that include St Bart’s, the Beacon, Uniting WA, public housing and private rentals.
As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“Homelessness and rough sleeping are challenging and complex issues that require cross-community and whole-of-government responses.
“Many of the people camping near the Lord Street Bridge in East Perth have experienced substantial trauma in their lives, and consequently have multiple and complex needs.
“This new $3.8 million initiative demonstrates an innovative new approach to providing support to rough sleepers and, importantly, it will be Aboriginal-led and delivered.
“The State Government is committed to improving long-term outcomes for vulnerable Western Australians and local communities, including those experiencing homelessness.”