FOR Perth’s most vulnerable homeless people, stable housing is not just about shelter, it has the power to transform their lives.
Community services organisation Ruah is embarking on Perth’s first 50 Lives, 50 Homes project using information collected during its previous two registry weeks.
The information collected, which included a profile of each person sleeping rough in inner-city Perth and a photo, will be used to identify those people most in need of housing.
The project is inspired by the successful 100,000 Homes campaign in the US, 50 Lives 50 Homes in Brisbane and 90 Lives 90 Homes in Sydney.
Ruah executive manager Ros Mulley said the project aimed to house those people with the most complex needs, which could be due to health or mental health issues, and then provide “wrap-around services” to them.
“If you can house and keep housed some of these most difficult people then homelessness can easily be addressed.
“If you can do it for the most complex, then you can do it for everyone else,” Ms Mulley said.
“We are looking at how we can get funding – right now Ruah is underwriting the project.
“The funding we need is about $230,000 for the first year… at the moment we have $85,000 (provided entirely by not-for-profit groups).
“Up to now, if homeless people are housed, they might have one case worker supporting them, but not this whole wealth of health providers saying ‘we will all do it together’.”
Senior manager Robyn Fernihough said the organisation had identified the first 10 vulnerable people it would seek to house.
“We’ve looked at their score in the database and also talked to other people that know them and some scores have been adjusted up,” Ms Fernihough said.
“In some cases, we have to locate the clients and establish a relationship.
“For some of them, they’ve just lost that sense of hope.”
Ms Mulley said as well as calling for more funding, community support would really make a difference to the campaign.
“We need people to embrace the campaign, for them to say ‘these are people that we as a community care about’,” she said.
“Once you work with these people and realise how great the need is, you can’t sleep at night. In winter, when it’s raining, you think of those poor people out there while we are warm in our beds.”
A third registry week is planned for February 2016.