Danger lurks when home is the streets

Richard, who was homeless for seven years, at Tranby Day Centre.
Richard, who was homeless for seven years, at Tranby Day Centre.

Up until May, Richard had been homeless for seven years, accessing homeless support services such as the day centre run by UnitingCare West in East Perth, while waiting for Department of Housing accommodation.

He said before then he had worked on a farm, but lost his job after the owners died.

He then had a failed relationship and became homeless.

Richard said that before he moved into his Wellington Street apartment he spent his days in Perth and nights in the suburbs, as the city was too dangerous.

‘On the streets it is hard, you can’t eat properly, you can’t look after yourself,’ he said.

‘Having a home means I have regular food, somewhere to sleep, shower and I’m out of the weather.’

Patrick, who gets breakfast and Centrelink and health services assistance at the centre, said he had lived on the streets for the past two years.

He previously worked as roof tiler but said he became homeless after his family moved from Perth. He is waiting for social housing to become available.

‘It’s too violent in Perth. Everything gets stolen, I had my thongs taken off my feet while I was asleep in summer,’ he said.

Centre staff tell how another man started living in his car after a relationship breakdown and health issues stopped him from working.

UnitingCare West homelessness and support services manager Anne Maroni said the day centre provided food, showers, Centrelink, legal and health services to homeless people.

‘People are often homeless until they can get into public housing,’ she said.

‘There has been an increase in demand for our services in the past 12- 18 months.’