Matter of Public Importance

The Council to Homeless Persons report in their latest eNews that the Victorian Parliament debated homelessness as a 'matter of public importance'.

The debate was initiated by Greens MP Sam Hibbins with eleven MPs from across the floor of Parliament taking the opportunity to address the matter.

Many of the members who spoke mentioned their visits to homelessness services and the impact that had had on their understanding of the issues.

The entire discussion is worthy of a read in Hansard pp. 54-77. 

The Council to Homeless Persons thanked all MPs for their thoughtful contributions, and the passion and concern they demonstrated about homelessness.

Inside Housing - August 16/2019

Please read the latest edition of our fortnightly newsletter, Inside Housing.

Inside this edition...

• Special post-edition of Inside Housing for Homelessness Week 2019. Read the latest stories, including our communiqué, plus photo galleries and videos.

Other stories include, consultation on Strata Title Reforms about to begin, the City of Perth release their Interim Homelessness Plan and several service providers have been selected to deliver the new Thrive program throughout Western Australia.

Click here to read our newsletter.

Shelter WA is an independent peak body, based in Perth Western Australia, that advocates for social and affordable housing and ending homelessness.

Communique #HW2019

Communiqué Homelessness Week 2019

The purpose of this communique is to provide an overview and outcomes of Homelessness Week 2019. Homelessness Week is an important national annual event to shine a light on homelessness, to learn from the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness and collectively reflect on what we need to do to change perceptions and stigmas to end homelessness.

In Western Australia our theme this year was ‘Home, Safe Home’. We believe that everyone has a right to safe and secure housing that enables them to thrive. This year’s focus was on solutions to end homelessness, including a focus on the Housing First Model to end chronic rough sleeping.

Housing First Approach and International Keynote Speaker

Shelter WA hosted Mr Bob Jordan, Ireland’s Director of Housing First, City of Dublin to learn how Ireland have embedded a Housing First approach into national policy and practice. These learnings were shared through discussions, presentations, workshops and meetings with Ministers and staff from the Department of Communities. 

[L-R] Bob Jordan, Ireland's Director of Housing First, City of Dublin; John Berger, Chair WA Alliance to End Homelessness

Housing First is an evidence-based approach to ending homelessness with international success. This model provides a permanent home and wrap around services for people who have experienced chronic rough sleeping. Without the Housing First approach, this group would generally cycle in and out of homelessness shelters, accident and emergency departments and the streets. In this model, the provision of housing first is an unconditional priority as the platform for people to focus on their recovery at their own pace. Once a home is provided, a multidisciplinary team of support workers work in partnership with the individual to understand and meet their needs. This may include services such as drug and alcohol counselling, mental health or services required by the individual.

Lived Experience Working Group

This year a lived experience working group was established to co-develop and inform the week, along with hosting and being involved in events. This group ensured that the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness informed activities and were elevated during the week.

Sponsors, Partners and Media

Homelessness Week 2019 involved collaboration from the community sector, government, industry and the corporate sector. Shelter WA would like to give special thanks to Lotterywest, the Department of Communities and Beyond Bank for their support of the week. Also to Brookfield Properties, the Property Council of WA and Woodside Energy for their event partnership and the panellists who took part in discussions. Shelter WA would particularly like to thank Allan Connelly for sharing his story and participating in several panels and events.

[L-R] Allan Connelly, Lived Experience Advisor; Hon Simone McGurk MLA Minister for Community Services

Homelessness Week attracted State and National media. Key media highlights included an extended interview with Mr Jordan on ABC 7.00pm television News, an opinion piece in The West Australian, WAtoday, Pro Bono News and an interview on 6PR Breakfast with Steve Mills and Basil Zempilas. This was coupled with numerous stories in local and regional media including print and broadcast form.

Screenshot | ABC 7:00pm TV News (WA) story with Bob Jordan. Credit: ABC TV

HW2019 Events and Releases

Over 1,000 people attended events during the week. Eight events were organised by Shelter WA and 15 partnership events and other independent events occurred across regional WA and the Perth Metro area. The Department of Communities released their book ‘When there’s no place to call home: Stories of people who have experienced homelessness in WA’ to show how complex and personal the circumstances are that lead to someone experiencing life without a home.

Shelter WA’s hosted events included:

Homelessness Week 2019 Launch

The opening event launched the ‘Home Is Where My Heart Is’ photographic exhibition by members of the Homelessness Youth Advisory Council (HYAC). Minister Simone McGurk officially launched the week and discussed the Government’s actions towards ending homelessness. Mr Olman Walley welcomed people to country, the Shelter WA Chairperson Mr Mark Glasson welcomed attendees, followed by presentations from Youth Affairs Council WA (YACWA) CEO Ross Wortham and HYAC member Sun McIntyre who talked about his lived experience and how this photography project helped to support him and express his story. The Spirit of the Streets Choir provided a powerful performance reflecting on the impact of homelessness. 

Bernard Carney OAM leads the Spirit of the Streets Choir

Building to Ending Homelessness: Corporate and Community Action

Shelter WA partnered with the Property Council of WA on forum to develop corporate and community action in building more supply of affordable housing and well-designed cities in WA. The event was an opportunity to engage with industry on how we can work together to end homelessness through a housing supply approach.

Ending Homelessness in WA by 2030: Making the Strategies A Reality

The ‘Ending Homelessness in WA by 2030’ event was an opportunity for the sector to reflect on the work of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) and its partners since the release of the WA Strategy to End Homelessness in April 2018, and to learn more about the WA State Government's 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness.

An Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework for homelessness in WA was launched by Professor Paul Flatau, Ali Mollinger-Sahba, and Lisette Kaleveld from the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia (CSI UWA). The Framework, developed by CSI UWA for WAAEH, is a comprehensive, systematic approach to identifying, tracking and reporting data and draws from the voice of those with lived experience of homelessness. Along with its accompanying data dictionary and dashboard, the Framework is the first complete community-based outcomes measurement framework of its kind for homelessness in the world. 

[L-R] Lisette Kaleveld; Research Officer CSI UWA, Ali Mollinger-Sahba; Research Officer CSI UWA, Professor Paul Flatau; Chair in Social Investment and Impact and Director of CSI UWA

The 'Ending Homelessness in Western Australia 2019 Report’ was launched by the CSI UWA for WAAEH at this event. The Report is a 2019 update on the state of homelessness in Western Australia. The Framework and Report can both be accessed here.

Mr Gordon Cole, Chair of Noongar Mia Mia, spoke to their strategic plan and the importance of embedding Noongar culture as the foundation of their work. He reflected on the conversion of homes into offices impacting on housing affordability and housing supply. Mr Cole reiterated the importance of Indigenous Community Housing Organisations in providing housing opportunities for Aboriginal people.

Housing First Workshop

Bob Jordan’s Housing First Workshop was an interactive deep dive into how we can implement the best-practice housing first approach state and nationwide. Utilising the lessons from Ireland and other nations, the workshop provided opportunities to consider how we can apply this knowledge in WA. The workshop heard that transitional housing is no longer part of the service system in Ireland. Key to the success of the implementation of Housing First in Ireland was the establishment of an independent non-profit organisation to transform social service reform. This independent entity, Genio, holds a service reform fund which includes significant investment from government, philanthropists and the community sector.  Based on an action research model they ensure reform is informed by a strong evidence base and focuses on early innovation to system side change. Information on Genio can be found at https://www.genio.ie/our-work

The workshop included a live video cross to Los Angeles with Dr Sam Tsemberis who founded Pathways to Housing, the first Housing First Model. An interactive discussion was held between and workshop participants who asked questions including how to engage with government to embed Housing First into policy and how he addressed any NIMBY issues.

[L-R] Bob Jordan; National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland, Professor Paul Flatau; Chair in Social Investment and Impact and Director of the Centre for Social Impact UWA

Mr Sam Knight from Ruah Community Services via a video call from Adelaide outlined the work of the 50 Lives 50 Homes project which involves 28 partner organisations from a range of sectors, including homelessness services, housing agencies, health providers, mental health and community services. He also provided an update on work being done in Perth to implement the Perth Zero Project, an approach that build an understanding of where people experiencing homelessness are at any given time and how they are moving out of the homelessness system. 

To coincide with the workshop on Housing First led by Bob Jordan, the WA Alliance to End Homelessness launched their latest resources on Housing First online. These include a discussion paper about Housing First in the WA context and some printable resources for organisations wanting to improve their understanding of this approach. 

This session was live streamed and can be seen on the Shelter WA Facebook page.

Homelessness Week Breakfast with Woodside Energy

Shelter WA and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness partnered with Woodside Energy to host a breakfast event Woodside’s Cara Auditorium. Around 200 people attended which included videos from the Homelessness Week ‘Real Stories’ Collection, a presentation from Bob Jordan on Housing First approach, an overview of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and a panel session which discussed how whole-of-community approach can end homelessness. Woodside announced a significant partnership with a homelessness service provider.

Mythbusting Homelessness: We Can Answer That

This year we myth busted the stigmas to change the culture surrounding homelessness. People with lived experience of homelessness answered the tough questions people are too afraid to ask from the general public via video on social media. This project was conceived and led by the Lived Experience Working Group. Similar to the ABC TV series You Can’t Ask That, the group put themselves in front of three cameras and then respond to questions submitted online by the general public. No scripts, no pre-warning of questions and no professional actors, just pure, honest and heartfelt answers. We will be releasing an episode via the Shelter WA Facebook page each Thursday over the next eight weeks, we urge you to see episode one here.

Participants in the Mythbusting Homelessness Couch Conversation

The Real Streets of Europe with Lisa Wood

Associate Professor Lisa Wood (School of Population and Global Health, UWA) shared her international insights from a recent seven-week opportunity to visit and learn about homelessness responses across United Kingdom and Finland. Lisa talked about different programs that were leading to successful outcomes, and the importance of organisations employing people with lived experience, and many examples of social enterprises providing training and employment opportunities. 

Fundraiser

$9,312 was raised via GoFundMe for RUAH led 50 Lives 50 Homes’ Program. 50 Lives 50 Homes is a successful housing first program in WA that has housed and provided services for over 200 or Perth’s chronic rough sleepers. These funds expand the program and enable two more people to get off the street and into a home. 

A significant part of the fundraising came from the ‘Crankin Wheel Women’ a group of like-minded women who ride together and whom, like many other early morning cyclists are confronted with the realities of people doing it tough, sleeping rough on our streets of Perth. They called on the wider female cycling community in Perth to take part in a ride around the Swan River to raise awareness and funds for ending homelessness. We would like to thank Ms Michelle Coelho from Beyond Bank and Ms Cate Wray from the cycling group for their support and efforts in making this happen.

[L-R] Michelle Coelho; Crankin Wheel Women and Jenne Russell; Shelter WA

Next Steps and Actions

The next twelve months will be pivotal for homelessness policy in Western Australia. Homelessness Services are under pressure with the impact of the Equal Renumeration Order on service sustainability. Important lessons will be learnt from the extended openings of the Uniting Care West Tranby Centre and Ruah Centre to provide 24/7 support, including two dedicated safe spaces to rest at night and greater opportunities to engage and to assist people towards safe and secure housing. 

The State Government is developing a new State Homelessness Strategy for release this year. This work, being progressed through the Supporting Communities Forum, has strong links with the community sector and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness strategy. We will continue our strong advocacy for Housing First to be central to the strategy, along with the strategy acknowledging the critical need for diverse social and affordable housing options to end homelessness. 

Shelter WA in partnership with WACOSS sits on an across government Commissioning Working Group on Homelessness; a collaborative approach to the commissioning of homelessness services to support the implementation of the 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness. Shelter WA will work with the sector to lead engagement during this significant reform process. Information gained from Homelessness Week such as the policies and practise that were put in place in Ireland, including the establishment of a new not for profit entity, Genio, and a new service reform fund to drive collaborative change. 

The Outcomes Framework released in Homelessness Week is a comprehensive, systemic approach to identifying, tracking and reporting data that reflect the interactions across multiple levels and factors which contribute to preventing homelessness and sustaining and enabling exit from homelessness. This is a world-leading, seminal document that will enable us to have a collective approach to measurement, evaluation and accountability and we look forward to working on the implementation of the framework.

We will continue our strong advocacy with Tenancy WA and other peak bodies to shift public policy so that nobody in public housing is evicted into homelessness, and that people released from government institutions are not released into homelessness.

We will continue engagement with industry and the corporate sector as ending homelessness requires a whole of community response. Only through combined collective efforts will we make a significant impact. Shelter WA looks forward to working across the sector, with government, industry and the broader community to end homelessness in Western Australia.

The WA Alliance to End Homelessness is holding a pulse meeting on Wednesday 21st August to focus on Housing First. We invite all people interested in progressing this agenda to the meeting. Details are available here.

 


Real Streets of Europe

As part of Homelessness Week Associate Professor Lisa Wood, based within the School of Population and Global Health at UWA, spoke about her experiences and findings from a recent trip to Europe where she immersed herself in the homelessness sector in England, Scotland and Finland. Lisa undertook the trip as part of a mid-career research fellowship funded by the UWA Faculty for Health and Medical Sciences to learn more about homelessness programs, research and challenges in other countries.

Associate Professor Lisa Wood

Lisa reflected on the importance of anticipating unintended consequences when introducing strategies and policies to tackle homelessness. 

In the UK for example, the Homelessness Reduction Act puts greater onus on hospitals and prisons not to discharge someone to homelessness, and local authorities have an obligation to find people housing, but  there is a shortage of housing and funding to ensure this has the intended impact. In Finland, Housing First has made enormous inroads into ending homelessness, but Lisa heard first-hand that there are still the ‘hidden homeless’ living temporarily with family or  friends, and there are some signs that youth homelessness in Helsinki may be on the rise.         

One of the challenges faced by all three countries and shared in Australia is the importance of health and mental health services as part of the collective response to ending homelessness was highlighted.

Lisa spoke about some of the homelessness initiatives that it would be good to see more of in Australia. Lisa reflected that the social enterprise sector was more mature in Europe as a way to provide training and employment options for people who have experience homelessness. And it is much easier there to find a café or coffee shop where funds go back to support homelessness.

The role of people with lived experience was more prominent also in England, Scotland and Finland, with mature peer to peer advocacy and support programs in place, and a growing number of programs employing people with a lived experience of homelessness in service delivery. The role that pets play in the lives of people who are homeless seems more recognised in the UK, including a dog friendly homelessness GP practice in Edinburgh, and in London the Dogs on the Street outreach service that couples veterinary care with support for their owners and connecting them to services.

[L-R] John Berger, Chairperson of the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness; David Cain, Executive Director of Service Delivery and Design at Communicare.

As part of her trip Lisa presented at the International Homelessness and Health conference in London, and met many people wanting to hear about how homelessness is being tackled ‘down under’.

She spoke positively about many of the initiatives happening in WA that we should be internationally proud of, such as the 50 Lives 50 Homes project. The cross-sectoral collaborative project between a range of Perth-based agencies, including homelessness services, housing agencies, health providers, and mental health and community services.

The 50 Lives After Hours Support Service (where a Homeless Healthcare nurse and Ruah support worker visit clients once they have been housed) was particularly envied by people involved in homelessness and Housing First initiatives elsewhere, and UWA research shows that this is helping clients to sustain their tenancies, as well as improving health outcomes.


 

Brake the Cycle

Brake the Cycle

Its 6.30am and the temperature is 8 degrees on an August Sunday morning. The location is the main Kings Park carpark and a golden glow is starting to appear from behind the War Memorial Cenotaph.

In the distance I see a group of shadowy figures riding their way up along the road passing by Frasers Restaurant. Their bike lights puncture the darkness, and I can hear a couple of words from their conversations.

As they get closer, we are welcomed by a group of friendly smiles.

[L-R] Michelle Coelho; Crankin Wheel Women and Jenne Russell; Shelter WA

The Crankin Wheel Women share a passion for cycling and supporting the community. They are a group of like-minded women who ride together and whom, like many other early morning cyclists are confronted with the realities of people doing it tough by being forced to sleep rough on the streets.

Participants at the start line.

From these concerns a plan was born.

Get 50 riders on a start line who will each donate $50 as their registration fee to participate in a ride around the Swan River during Homelessness Week. The money is then donated to the Ruah Community Services ‘50 Lives, 50 Homes’ program. The program takes people experiencing homelessness off the streets and into a home with wraparound services to support them getting back on their feet.

Watch the start of the race here.

At the conclusion of the race participants congregated at Dôme Westralia Plaza to hear from several representatives with lived experience of homelessness.

Applause and encouragement from the support team as they head towards the finish.

Tara, Homelessness Week Representative.

The final donation figure was a contribution of nearly $8,000 which significantly contributed to housing two people with wraparound services.

Arriving!

The Crankin Wheel Women

Thanks to Beyond Bank, Lotterywest, Department of Communities and Ruah Community Services – and the Crankin Wheel Women for their support.

 







Freeze Evictions

Freeze Evictions

The impact of homelessness on individuals, families and communities was highlighted during Homelessness Week 2019, in particular through the stories of people with lived experience of homelessness.

Homelessness and youth homelessness costs the public significantly more than public housing, and substantially more than a few thousand dollars in rent. According to statistics from the Department of Communities, most of the public housing evictions are for rent arrears, and not anti-social behaviour.

This points to an underlying crisis that the majority of people facing eviction into homelessness are also likely to be experiencing poverty, domestic violence, mental illness and/or families carrying the burden of intergenerational trauma.

Losing a safe, stable place to then call home can often be the ‘last straw’. In 2016, figures showed of the 495 evictions across Western Australia, 212 were due to rent arrears and water bills; 157 for poor property standards and only 71 for disruptive behaviour.

ChameleonsEye/"Shutterstock.com"

Shelter WA in partnership with Tenancy WA and other peaks is calling for an end to evictions from public housing into homelessness with an immediate moratorium on evictions into homelessness of children.

“Children evicted to homelessness miss out on schooling, their health needs aren’t met, they are at increased risk of assault and they don’t have a chance to have a safe and secure childhood. We worry that we are setting these kids on a fast track to ongoing poverty and disadvantage,” said Michelle Mackenzie CEO of Shelter WA.

Data on evictions, in particular the eviction of children, is difficult to obtain. It’s imperative the Department of Communities monitors the number of children evicted to homelessness, as this is a serious child protection risk.

The number, age and gender of children determines eligibility for housing, and how many bedrooms the family are provided to the Department. These details are on the public housing application and the annual rent review forms. “The Department of Communities should absolutely know how many children are being evicted,” Tenancy WA principal solicitor Kate Davis said. “We are calling for these figures to be collated and released, and then the Department should set a target of zero children evicted to homelessness.”

“We expect that upwards of 50% of these evictions are Aboriginal families, and so we’re concerned that hundreds of Aboriginal children are being evicted to homelessness every year in WA,” Ms Davis said.

Losing the security and safety of a stable home is a traumatic experiences for anyone, but it places even more distress on the most vulnerable and impressionable members of our community – children. The review of the Residential Tenancies Act provides the opportunity to remove the “no grounds terminations” which will ensure that Courts can always review a termination to make sure it is justified.

We call on the State Government to adopt a target of zero children in public housing are evicted to homelessness.

Ending Homelessness by 2030

A year since the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) launched their 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness participants packed the room to hear what had been done in implementing the Strategy and to hear about current and future initiatives in both the housing and homelessness sectors.

The event started with international guest speaker Bob Jordan the National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland who enlightened the room about the Housing First Model and the implementation of the National Housing First Implementation Plan across Ireland.

[L-R] Lisette Kaleveld; Research Officer CSI UWA, Ali Mollinger-Sahba; Research Officer CSI UWA, Professor Paul Flatau; Chair in Social Investment and Impact and Director of CSI UWA.

The next speaker, Professor Paul Flatau, Director of the UWA Centre for Social Impact (CSI UWA) launched a suite of documents relating to the Strategy including:

• WAAEH Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework.
• WAAEH Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework: Data Dictionary
• WAAEH Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework: Dashboard
• Ending Homelessness in Western Australia 2019 Report

The Framework with its accompanying documents tools is ground-breaking. It is the first complete community-based outcomes measurement framework of its kind for homelessness.

The Ending Homelessness report gives a current guide to the state of homelessness in Western Australia and the important programs and initiatives aimed at ending homelessness in Western Australia.

John Berger, the Chair of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness, followed up on Professor Flatau’s presentation with an overview of other initiatives being carried out by the WAAEH since the launch of the 10-Year Plan.

One initiative has been the design of a Youth Cohort Action Plan which has been hosted by the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA).

[L-R] Ross Wortham; Chief Executive Officer of YACWA, Adriana Sowah; HYAC.

Ross Wortham the Chief Executive Officer of YACWA, and Adriana Sowah, outlined the work being done by the members of the Homelessness Youth Advisory Council (HYAC). The Council comprises of a diverse group of young people with lived experience of homelessness. 

This team has come together for several workshops where through a co-design process they have developed a youth-specific homelessness action plan. The group has used various design tools like ‘system maps,’ ‘journey maps,’ and ‘future narratives’ to empathise, discover, analyse and gain new insights together.

In concluding the event a panel discussion was held with:

• Bob Jordan – National Director, Housing First Republic of Ireland
• Mark Glasson – Chief Executive Officer, Anglicare WA and Chair of Shelter WA
• Debra Zanella – Chief Executive Officer, Ruah
• Taryn Harvey – Chief Executive Officer, WA Association for Mental Health
• Emma Colombera – Policy Manager, Department of Communities
• Allan Connelly  Lived Experience Advisor

[L-R] Bob Jordan; National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland, Professor Paul Flatau; Chair in Social Investment and Impact and Director of the Centre for Social Impact UWA.

[L-R] Mark Glasson, CEO of Anglicare WA and Chair of Shelter WA; Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA; Allan Connolly, Lived Experience Advisor; Taryn Harvey, CEO of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health; Gordon Cole, Director of Commercial Development at Noongar Mia Mia; Emma Colombera, Policy Manager at the Department of Communities; Bob Jordan, National Director of Housing First at the Republic of Ireland; Debra Zanella, CEO of Ruah Community Services.

 

 

#HW2019 Launch

#HW2019 Launch

The Western Australian launch of Homelessness Week took place within the foyer of Perth’s Brookfield Place Tower. It was a fitting location to have the opening, as Brookfield Properties were sponsoring the Home is Where my Heart is retrospective photographic exhibition for Homelessness Week.

Against this backdrop of photos capturing the reality of youth homelessness, members of The Spirit of the Streets Choir led by Bernard Carney OAM performed a rendition of the Phil Collins song ‘Another Day in Paradise’ a song in which Collins implores listeners not to turn a blind eye to homelessness.

Bernard Carney OAM leads the Spirit of the Streets Choir

After the performance Aboriginal dancer and didgeridoo player Olman Walley conducted a Welcome to Country ceremony. You can watch it here. Mr Mark Glasson, Chairperson of Shelter WA, outlined the purpose of the week and welcomed guests.

In her speech the Hon. Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Child Protection; Women's Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Community Services spoke about how it is not just a matter about “managing” homelessness but actually “ending” it.

“This should be our very real ambition particularly in a state with such plenty as we are here in Western Australia,” said Minister McGurk. “And it’s not just one group or one sector that will end homelessness, it’s all of us in partnership that I know are represented here.”

The Minister acknowledged how many homelessness issues had come to the public’s attention just recently. Leading up to the Homelessness Week several stories focusing on the many displaced people living in the CBD had been linked, among other things, to a “retail crisis” of store closures.

Whilst the Minister said it was good to have public focus on the issue, we want not only an immediate response but a “medium and a long-term effort to support people in the right sort of accommodation, and to give them the supports that they need to address some of the issues that might have led them to be homeless in the first place”.

“Whether they’re mental health issues, whether they’re drug and alcohol addiction issues, whether there’s domestic or family violence, whether that’s financial counselling,” she said. “They need the linking of supports at the right time to provide them with stability in their lives.” Watch the full speech here.

[L-R] Photographer Xzavier Austen with Jacinta Austen

After the Minister completed her remarks Ross Wortham the CEO of the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) spoke to the audience about the photography exhibition.

He introduced us to Sun McIntyre a participant in the photography project. Sun, who submitted a self-portrait, outlined his struggles of being homeless for more than three years. Sun spoke candidly about dealing with his gender transition and the impact it would have on his family leading him to then being bounced around between support services, shelters and friends’ couches.

Amazingly, these challenges did not stop the naturally shy man from completing a Certificate III in Civil Construction.

[L-R] Photographer Sun McIntyre with Chief Executive Officer of YACWA Ross Wortham

Today, Sun is in a Department of Housing unit and has employment. 

Thanks to all our sponsors, who have enabled us to raise awareness and encourage discussion about how to end homelessness in Western Australia. Particularly to Brookfield Properties who generously donated their foyer space to not only house the Home is Where my Heart is exhibition but to provide this venue for the launch. 

Homelessness Week 2019 sponsors include Lotterywest, Department of Communities, Beyond Bank, Woodside Energy and Brookfield Properties.

[L-R] Chief Executive Officer of YACWA Ross Wortham, General Manager of Community Services at Centrecare Leanne Strommen and Centrecare’s Nathalie Drevet

[L-R] Lived Experience Advisor Allan Connolly and Minister for Community Services Hon. Simone McGurk MLA

 


 

#HW2019 Breakfast

#HW2019 Breakfast

In support of Homelessness Week 2019 Shelter WA in partnership with the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and Woodside Energy to hold a breakfast and panel discussion which brought together corporate and community sectors to discuss how a joint approach can end homelessness in Western Australia.

The event started with international guest speaker Bob Jordan the National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland who provided an overview of the Housing First Model and the Irish Housing First Implementation Plan.

We then heard from John Berger the Chairperson at the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness. It’s been a year since the Alliance launched their Strategy to End Homelessness and Mr Berger outlined how the Strategy through its framework will achieve several targets such as “ending all forms of chronic homelessness including chronic rough sleeping”. Read the report here.

Mr Berger outlined the achievements of the Alliance, including a new Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework, which was done in partnership with the UWA Centre for Social Impact. The ground-breaking research is the first complete community-based outcomes measurement framework for homelessness in the world. The Evaluation Framework provides a framework to whether progress is being made towards ending homelessness, and capture the role that agencies are playing in that progress.

Read the evaluation framework, data dictionary and dashboard here.

After this presentation a panel discussion started with questions from the audience. Questions included the impact the low rate of Newstart has on homelessness to the costs to implementing a Housing First approach.

[L-R] Sherry Duhe; Chief Financial Officer Woodside Energy and John Berger; Chairperson at the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness.

In addition to the panel discussion Woodside’s Chief Financial Officer Sherry Duhe announced a new partnership with Orange Sky Australia. Orange Sky supports people across Perth who are experiencing homelessness by offering a free, mobile shower and laundry service, along with a non-judgemental conversation and linking people into services.

[L-R] Bob Jordan; National Director, Housing First, Republic of Ireland, Allan Connolly; Lived Experience Advisor, Sherry Duhe; Chief Financial Officer Woodside Energy, John Berger; Chairperson at the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness, Dylan Smith; Executive Officer Fremantle Foundation and Michelle Mackenzie; Chief Executive Officer of Shelter WA.

Chief Executive Officer Michelle Mackenzie said international experience shows that we can end homelessness. "This requires alignment of purpose and effort, and partnerships with community and the corporate sector are critical if we are to end homelessness in WA."

[L-R] Bob Jordan; National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland, and Mark Glasson; Chief Executive Officer Anglicare WA.

 

 

Housing First with Bob Jordan

As part of Homelessness Week 2019 Shelter WA was honored to bring keynote speaker Bob Jordan to Australia. Mr Jordan is the National Director of Housing First a part of the Government of Ireland's Housing First National Implementation Plan which is rolling out Housing First tenancies across Ireland.

Currently there are 10,253 people in Ireland, including 3,449 children who were officially registered as homeless in May 2019.

With international knowledge and expertise in the implementation and scaling up of the Housing First model it was with no surprise that Bob’s workshop was a popular event. Everybody was keen know the ingredients needed to not only implement but to make the Housing First model central to government policy.

[L-R] Lived Experience Advisor Allan Connolly; National Director, Housing First, Republic of Ireland; Bob Jordan.

Before moving into his presentation Bob acknowledged how special Homelessness Week had been to him as someone observing it for the first time.

“We don’t have this in Ireland, in fact I can’t think of anywhere in Europe where we do have it,” said Mr Jordan. “When people are so busy doing, doing, doing, under pressure in delivering homelessness services, having one week of the year where you are pausing and thinking about strategy and how we do things next seems to me to be so important.”

After going through the definitions of the Housing First, and the extraordinary success of the programme in ending homelessness for people who have experience chronic round sleeping by providing permanent housing, with wrap around support, Bob’s presentation touched on how the policies and process needed to implement and scale up the Australia. Showing a photo of the launch of Housing First in Ireland Bob identified the Irish Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

[L-R] National Director, Housing First, Republic of Ireland; Bob Jordan; Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo Credit: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie.

“Can you visualise your Minister for Homelessness, Minister for Housing and your Minister for Health standing forward and launching a plan for Housing First in Western Australia?” Bob asked. Bob said, “it requires that (Ministerial) buy-in at that level.”

What is critical in a Housing First approach is understanding the drivers of homelessness. International research shows for around 78% of people experiencing homelessness just need access to a house that they can afford. Around 10% experience homelessness episodically often associated with mental health and other drug issues. Around 12% are chronically homelessness, needing serious, long term support. These are the people that cycle in and out of shelters and homelessness services. These are the people for whom Housing First works to end homelessness.

Implementation requires the buy in and alignment of stakeholders. This includes the Department of Housing, the Department of Health, health services, local authorities and community services.

The workshop heard that transitional housing is no longer part of the service system in Ireland. Key to the success of the implementation of Housing First in Ireland was the establishment of an independent non-profit organisation to transform social service reform. This independent entity, Genio, holds a service reform fund which includes significant investment from government, philanthropists and the community sector. Based on an action research model they ensure reform is informed by a strong evidence base and focuses on early innovation to system side change. Information on Genio can be found at https://www.genio.ie/our-work.

“This keeps us honest,” said Bob. “What is interesting about putting private money in the mix is that sometimes the philanthropic organisations can ask the hard questions of government. Even a small amount of money can make a huge difference and they’ve made a very big impact on this program.

From here Bob outlined how Housing First targets were derived through an audit of need. The audit identified the amount of people sleeping on the streets across Ireland who had mental health and addiction issues, how many people are the long-term users of emergency accommodation and a survey was conducted of every homeless service.

Once identified each local authority provided units to house those people with health service wraparounds. The commitment of housing units was based on the number of people identified in each area who qualify.

After the targets were identified a process of scaling up took place. It included evaluating that each local consortium understood what the Housing First approach was, then funding allocation was approved under the Department of Housing and Health with each region putting the Housing First Program out to competitive tendering.

 

Participants workshop with Bob Jordan.

A total of nine tenders were allocated in total. From there training of the consortia, action research, in the form of shared learnings and finally the evaluation of progress took place and is ongoing.

Bob Jordan then paused his presentation so we could hear from Mr Sam Knight from Ruah Community Services via a video call from Adelaide. Sam outlined the work of the 50 Lives 50 Homes project which involves 28 partner organisations from a range of sectors, including homelessness services, housing agencies, health providers, mental health and community services.

An update was also provided by Sam on some of the Housing First related work being done in Perth particularly with the Built for Zero concept.

The Housing First approach is embodied in Built for Zero which comes out of the United States. It supports participating communities to develop real time data on homelessness, optimising local housing resources, tracking progress against monthly goals, and scaling proven strategies. One of the defining components of Built for Zero is real-time data, collated in a By-Name List, which helps to make a coordinated response to rough sleeping and work towards ‘functional zero’.

Functional Zero is best thought of as a point on a spectrum towards ending homelessness – or reaching Absolute Zero – in each context in which it is applied. The model allows/requires that communities determine their own plan with regard to how they define ending homelessness and the homeless population(s) upon which they focus.

Many organisations in Perth have now joined together to see how they can build this model, so we know where the homeless are at any given time and how they are moving out of the homelessness system.

The WA Zero project which incorporates a By-Name List providing a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness in an area.

Founder and Executive Director of Pathways to Housing, Sam Tsemberis joined the workshop by video link from Los Angeles. 

The final session involved a Q&A Workshop hosted by Bob Jordan and Sam Tsemberis. Dr. Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in New York City in 1992 based on the belief that housing is a human right. He is currently participating in national studies of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics, including the Housing First Manual (Hazelden Publishing, updated in 2015).

Participants spoke to Dr Tsemberis directly with questions relating to Housing First including how to engage with government to embed this into policy, how he addressed any NIMBY issues.

Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer said the workshop was an extraordinary opportunity to speak with both Bob Jordan and Dr Tsemberis, two international experts, on the embedding of Housing First into policy and practice.

Watch Bob Jordan's presentation here.

Participants at the workshop.

 

 

 

Mythbusting Homelessness

Until each camera was switched on nobody knew how things would turn out.

Accumulated from public responses weeks before Homelessness Week began and laid in front of each group were several cards of written questions. There were no scripts, no pre-warning of questions and definitely no professional actors, just pure, honest and heartfelt answers.

The task seemed easy. Take a question, read it out aloud and then respond.

For the participants it was exciting, liberating and nerve-racking, for those behind the cameras there was apprehension.

Would the participants be offended? Is it wise to have “Are you drunk all the time?” as a question and would some people walk out in disgust? As the first individual reached towards a card there was no turning back.

After the initial shock of each question the stigmas and misunderstandings began to fall away as each participant guides us through their first-hand experience of homelessness, a situation many of us could never understand. What was clear is that everyone has a story to tell and those who have lived through homelessness perhaps more than anyone else.

Participants of the Mythbusting Homelessness Couch Conversation

Each turning of the card would bring on entirely different emotions. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, but always honest, raw and emotional. With a support person on hand participants shared their experiences freely with each other and the cameras.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside a group of such passionate and resilient people,” said Shelter WA Senior Communications and Marketing Advisor Heather Bush.

“To share personal experiences with others is brave, but to share those experiences on film which is going to be shared on social media is awe inspiring. Each person’s experience is so important it was decided almost immediately after filming to create eight short episodes, one per question, that will be posted on Facebook each week after homelessness week.

The first episode which premiered on Shelter WA’s Facebook page last week had over 4,000 views. We do hope that these stories can go some way to breaking down the stereotypes, stigmas and myths surrounding homelessness,” said Heather.

Watch the video here.

“Mythbusting Homelessness – We can answer that” would not have been possible without the support of Lotterywest, Beyond Bank and the Department of Communities.

Planning Reform Action Plan

Minister Saffioti’s Action Plan for planning reform and Draft Precinct Design Policy Launched.

At a Planning Institute of Australia breakfast event this week, the Minister for Planning, the Hon Rita Saffioti MLA launched the Government’s response to the summary of submissions received on the Modernising WA’s Planning System Green Paper with a 6 Point Action Plan (details below), as well as launching the Draft Precinct Design Policy.

Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA BBus Minister for Transport; Planning. Photo Credit: Planning Institute of Australia.

The Minister’s Action Plan is crafted under three main themes:

Planning creates great places for people – address impediments to achieving consolidated growth and develop places which are well-connected, provide housing choice and diversity and offer a great quality of life.

Planning is easier to understand and navigate – better-organised planning system that is strategically clear and makes a meaningful contribute to the planning of the future community.

Planning systems are consistent and efficient – establishing new ways of working to simplify the system and reduce timeframes and provide more clarity and certainty for stakeholders.

The Minister has under these themes identified 6 key areas of reform to reduce unnecessary red tape in the planning process. These include:

  1. Fast, automatic approvals for compliant “change of use” applications for commercial properties, town centres and high streets.
  2. Slashing the number of WA planning zones from 1,000 to around 300 to standardise and simplify the planning system.
  3. Pushing for uniform planning policies along transport corridors that span council boundaries.
  4. Overhauling the development assessment plan system to reduce the number of DAPs from nine to three, with around 10 full-time planning experts replacing the current 48-member pool.
  5. Introduce on-site signage requirements for major development applications that include pictures of the proposed new building.
  6. Creation of a free, one-stop online portal where landowners can quickly and easily find every planning policy that applies to their property.

The planning system has a critical role in facilitating social and affordable housing supply. Shelter WA will continue to work with government to advocate for inclusionary zoning mechanisms within the planning framework with targets for social and affordable housing.

For full details on the Action Plan go to https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/action-plan.

 

 

Strata Title Reforms

On Tuesday 13 August, the Minister for Lands, the Hon Ben Wyatt MLA launched strata.wa.gov.au a vehicle for the WA community to read, review and provide input into the proposed regulations for the Strata Reform process.

Consultation will formally open on 1 September 2019 and Shelter WA encourages all members of our community to review the proposed changes.

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As part of Shelter WA’s ongoing involvement in the Strata Reform project, we are pleased to see the McGowan Government continue its engagement process with the WA community, with the release of the proposed regulations.

The strata reforms propose several changes that will be beneficial to our community and create new opportunities to develop affordable housing solutions in WA. Shelter WA is particularly keen to seen how leasehold strata development can be harnessed. The draft regulations also contain good protections for any existing strata lot owner who many be considered ‘vulnerable’ when it comes to proposals to terminate existing schemes.

Shelter WA congratulates the Minister and Landgate’s staff for what has been a remarkable engagement and consultation process.

 

 

National Housing Conference

National Shelter looks forward to the 2019 AHURI National Housing Conference. The biennial National Housing Conference (NHC) is the largest gathering for the social and affordable housing sectors in Australasia.

Many Shelter people are part of the program including Peter McMillan from NT Shelter, Michelle Mackenzie from Shelter WA, Sorcha Walshe from Shelter SA, Adrian Pisarski National Shelter and many associate members and national members including Wendy Hayhurst CHIA, John Nicolades Chief Executive Officer of Bridge Housing Limited and Marion Bennett from Mission Australia.

The conference runs from Tuesday 27 – Friday 30 August 2019.


Political Engagement

In the last Parliamentary sitting, National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski has met with several housing and homelessness Ministers.

Mr Pisarski met new Minister Luke Howarth MP, housing affordability advocate John Alexander MP, new ALP spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness Jason Clare MP while also catching up with Greens spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi.

[L-R] Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Executive Officer and Luke Howarth MP Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services. 

Issues under discussion included the re-establishment of the parliamentary friends of affordable housing and homelessness, trying to ensure all parties are represented on the group as co-convenors. Solving the affordable housing shortage will require agreements across electoral cycles and National Shelter is convinced this will require multi-party plans. Also under discussion was the government agenda for solving homelessness, reviewing ALP policies and some innovative ways of financing the construction of much needed affordable housing.

John Alexander MP has promoted the idea of funding new affordable housing through value capture of rezoned land opened up by infrastructure projects like fast rail. National Shelter supports the idea of value capture and increasing the range of affordable housing options through the planning system.

Locally, Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Mackenzie escorted international guest speaker Bob Jordan the National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland to a meeting with the Hon. Peter Tinley AM, MLA the WA State Minister for Housing. Shelter WA brought Mr Jordan to Perth during homelessness week.

[L-R] Hon. Peter Tinley AM, MLA Minister for Housing and Bob Jordan National Director for the Housing First Program in Ireland.

With vast knowledge and expertise in the utilisation and implementation of a Housing First model Mr Jordan has undertaken an enormous amount of work to bring agencies and local authorities together to make housing a reality.