The following fact sheet highlights the Australian and Western Australian governments’ efforts to reduce homelessness and includes details on Western Australia’s Implementation Plan under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Homelessness in Western Australia
According to the Counting the Homeless Report, 13,391 people were homeless in Western Australia on Census night 2006. Of these:
- 2,392 were sleeping rough
- 62 per cent were aged 34 or younger
- 32 per cent were aged 12 to 18 years
- 9 per cent were children under 12 years who were with either one or both parents
- 11 per cent were Indigenous.
What we are doing
The Australian and Western Australian governments are committed to reducing homelessness.
In December 2008, the Australian Government released The Road Home, the Government's White Paper on Homelessness. The Road Home called on all levels of government, business, the not-for-profit sector and the community to join together to reduce homelessness.
The Road Home outlined the need for new investment in homelessness and reform of existing services. Homelessness should be prevented wherever possible. People who experience homelessness should be supported to move quickly through the crisis system into long-term housing and at the same time get help to reconnect with education, employment and the community. Mainstream services and homelessness services have to work together more effectively to reduce homelessness.
In The Road Home, the Australian Government adopted two headline goals :
- to halve the rate of overall homelessness by 2020
- offer supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.
The White Paper also included interim targets to 2013 to contribute to these long-term goals. These goals will only be achieved if all governments, businesses, the not-for-profit sector and the community work together to reduce homelessness.
Work already under way
In The Road Home the Australian Government committed to boost its efforts across all areas of government to achieve the 2020 headline goals and interim targets for reducing homelessness. This is especially important in areas such as social housing, employment, income support and aged care.
Specific Australian Government initiatives include:
- $590.22 million allocated to Western Australia to construct new dwellings and refurbish existing social housing dwellings as part of the $5.6 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan; over 2,000 new dwellings have been approved
- $40.5 million to Western Australia under the National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing to increase the supply of social housing
- improvements to Centrelink's capacity to respond to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- additional emergency relief funding, more personal helpers and mentors for people living with severe mental illness, innovative employment services and increased capital and recurrent funding for elderly people who are homeless.
New work through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
As part of The Road Home, in December 2008, the Council of Australian Governments established a National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. Under the Agreement the Australian Government has agreed to provide additional funding for homelessness to the states and territories who have agreed to match Australian Government funding and deliver services and capital projects that will contribute to an overall reduction in homelessness.
The Australian and Western Australian governments will contribute $135.2 million over five years to reduce homelessness under the Agreement. Western Australia has developed an Implementation Plan setting out new initiatives and additional services which will make a substantial contribution toward the achievement of the 2013 interim targets to reduce homelessness.
The Implementation Plan
Initiatives under the Implementation Plan will link directly with the Social Housing and Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan and National Partnership Agreements to provide the essential support for people who are housed in new properties to ensure homelessness does not reoccur. The Implementation Plan tackles homelessness across the state including metropolitan, rural and remote locations.
Under the Agreement Western Australia is delivering a number of initiatives. Some of these include:
A Place to Call Home
- New social housing dwellings with targeted support for the first year of tenancy for people on the social housing waiting list.
- A Foyer development providing secure housing and on-site support services for around 100 young people, including 35 young people who are at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness.
Street to Home
- Outreach teams, supported by specialist mobile clinical teams for mental health, drug and alcohol assessment, treatment and referral, will provide intensive support, including access to stable accommodation for rough sleepers, in inner-city Perth and Fremantle.
- Housing support workers will support outreach teams to assist rough sleepers to access and maintain long-term stable accommodation.
Private and Public Rental Support Services
- Support for private and public tenants to help sustain their tenancies, including tenancy support, advocacy, case management, financial counselling and referral services.
Young Women Leaving Child Protection Services
- Provide independent living options and support for young women leaving child protection services. The service includes educational programs, mediation, and family and parenting support programs.
Safe at Home
- Support for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence to stay in their present housing where it is safe to do so.