Housing homeless people could save $16m

Are there homeless people trying to get by in Yanchep and Gingin? Illustration: Anita McInnes

THERE are no figures available to the media on how many people are homeless in the northern suburbs of the City of Wanneroo and the Shire of Gingin.

But if someone is homeless or couch-surfing or living in their car in the City of Wanneroo,  Mayor Tracey Roberts said the city can help them get support.

 The city also wants Yanchep residents to help support those experiencing homelessness by donating items in need during Homelessness Week, which runs during the first week of August.

Also during Homelessness Week the WA Council of Social Services tweeted about a report by researchers at the UWA Business School’s Centre for Social Impact.

The report What are the health, social and economic benefits of providing public housing and support to formerly homeless people? undertaken for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute linked health care costs to national data examining the impact of homelessness programs and public housing.

According to probonoaustralia.com.au the study found providing stable public housing for homeless people could save the Western Australian health system more than $16 million a year.

Mrs Roberts said the City of Wanneroo recognised homelessness was an issue within the community and worked with organisations to promote their services to those who need support. 

“Currently there are 105,000 people experiencing homelessness around Australia every night with more than 9000 in Western Australia,” she said. 

“People often think that homelessness does not exist here in the City of Wanneroo but the facts show a different story,” she said. 

“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. 

“Homelessness Week is a time to show that everyone counts. It is important to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with being homeless as it could happen to anyone. 

 “Having access to housing is a basic human right that everyone deserves.

“The city aims to ensure homeless people are treated with dignity and respect and are provided up to date information on relevant agencies and community groups who can provide support. 

“Unfortunately it is likely that the number of those experiencing homelessness or at risk will continue to grow and it is important that we work together as a community to tackle this issue.”

She said to address the growing incidence of homelessness and rough sleepers, the city was working with the City of Joondalup to develop a regional homelessness strategy.

In February, the city participated in Registry Week conducted by RUAH Community Services to identify homeless people, link them to services and get a better understanding of their needs. 

The city continues to increase its capacity to respond to homelessness through the development of a new reporting and referral procedure and information guide to be used by city staff to ensure a consistent approach to help those in need. 

To find out how you can donate items or get support for homelessness, contact the city on 9405 5600.