Chance for homeless to tell their stories

People who have experienced homelessness will tell their stories at Blink of an eye Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre on August 11. File picture

AS part of Homelessness Week 2018, the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup are inviting residents to an event to foster greater understanding of homelessness in the community.

The event, Blink of an Eye will take place on Saturday, August 11 at the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, and address the simple truth that life can change in an instant.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts is encouraging people to come along and hear the stories from people who have experienced being homeless, as well as engage in facilitated group discussions and couch conversations.

“This presentation explores how in the blink of an eye people can experience circumstances that lead to hardship and homelessness,” she said.

“Some people are not aware that homelessness exists in our local suburbs, but the facts tell a different story.

“A number of people are experiencing hardship and finding themselves in vulnerable situations due to housing affordability, job losses and financial pressures from the current economic environment.

“Every night in Western Australia there are more than 9500 people experiencing homelessness – it is a shocking statistic that needs a combined approach to address this issue, and we will continue to work in close partnership with the City of Joondalup to further understand the needs of our communities.”

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said everyone had the right to safe and secure accommodation and, as a sector, local government had an important role to play in responding to this growing issue of concern in Perth’s northern corridor.

“In working to end homelessness, we must create greater understanding of the issue and this free event will give people an opportunity to hear directly from those with lived experience of sleeping rough,” he said.

“Sometimes all it takes it is a change in circumstances and any one of us could become homeless.”

Since March 2016, the Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo have met on a regular basis to progress the development of the Regional Homelessness Strategy.

Both cities have also developed internal processes to assist staff members who encounter people sleeping rough.

“Local governments like ours must continue to adopt appropriate strategies and actively engage with relevant stakeholders and our respective communities to tackle what is one of the most important challenges facing our cities both now and into the future,” he said.