City to develop homelessness strategy

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Bayswater will develop a strategy to help homeless people who are “sleeping rough” in the community.

Councillors voted 8-1 at their August 20 meeting for Cr Lorna Clarke’s alternate motion asking chief executive Andrew Brien to develop a local homelessness strategy by November 2020.

There will be a councillor workshop and consultation with the public and stakeholders on the draft strategy by August 2020 as part of the process.

The final strategy will be incorporated into the City’s corporate business plan and budget processes in 2021-22.

According to the 2016 Census, there were more than 9000 people in WA who experienced homelessness on Census night.

Bayswater councillor Lorna Clarke.

Cr Clarke said the council could not turn a “blind eye” to homelessness and needed to look after those people who were sleeping rough.

“I know there will be some people in the community that don’t think that this is core business for us,” she said.

“It is different to roads, rates and rubbish.

“One of the biggest problems we have actually got is a lack of actual housing.

“We need to have a response where we look at how we facilitate the provisions of housing and social services to actually do this.

“At the end of the day, some of these people are ratepayers as well.”

Progress Street in Morley. Picture: Kristie Lim

Cr Michelle Sutherland, who voted against, said homelessness was a complex issue in a lot of developed countries.

“There are a lot of older Australians that are homeless,” she said.

“Also, for people who have mental illness and have nowhere to go except the streets.

“I know especially in Maylands and Morley there has been a big issue about it.”

Meanwhile, the City also made a submission in response to the Department of Communities’ directions paper for the 10-year Strategy on Homelessness 2019-2029.

The Department’s strategy, which is expected to be released in November, will have a designated local government section which will define the role and proposed actions for local government.

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