Homeless Connect, the one-day event based on a one-stop-shop model of immediate service was held last week, co-ordinated by Volunteering WA in partnership with the City of Perth and other key sponsors.
It brought together volunteers, government organisations, community groups and local businesses to provide a diverse range of free essential services to people experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness. Services included optometry; financial counselling; identification assistance for births, deaths and marriages and facilities such as showers and haircuts.
[L-R] CEO of Volunteering WA Tina Williams with the Hon. Simone McGurk.
In her speech at the event the Hon. Simone McGurk the Minister for Child Protection; Women's Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services acknowledged the ongoing challenges of providing people experiencing homelessness with the ongoing assistance they need.
“The state government is absolutely committed to doing its bit to not only provide the ongoing support to services so that they can do this sort of work throughout the year, but in making sure we are coordinating all of those efforts,” Ms McGurk said.
The Minister highlighted an example where the government was looking at the need to create a more sophisticated approach to services such as food relief.
“We know that organisations like SecondBite and Foodbank provide cheap or free meals for people when they need it but also how do we start to address the logistical challenges of getting food to people when they need it throughout the state. This is a project the Western Australian Council of Social Service has been assisting us to work through,” the Minister said.
“The need we see throughout the state requires our best efforts.”
Again, the service providers tent was busy with over 70 service organisations engaging with visitors to the event highlighting the current supports available.
St. Patrick’s Community Support Centre.
In addition to community organisations, representatives from the Department of Communities were also on hand to discuss housing requirements and options for those needing accommodation.
Shelter WA recognises that people who are experiencing homelessness ultimately require a safe and affordable home, underpinned by access to services that will enable them to have a good life in their home. This Housing First approach is internationally recognised as the key to ending rough sleeping.
Shelter WA congratulates all who were involved in this year’s Homeless Connect especially the many volunteers who give hours and hours of their time to support those who are most in need, whilst they do not have a place to call home.
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