East Perth’s Shelter WA streamlines response to sleeping rough and homelessness

Robyn telling her lived experience of homelessness at a couch conversation event.
Robyn telling her lived experience of homelessness at a couch conversation event.

A TOOLKIT to support local governments successfully engage with people sleeping rough is being developed by Shelter WA in East Perth.

The toolkit will be developed by a reference group made up of representatives from WALGA, the Local Government Association and individual councils.

Chief executive Michelle Mackenzie said it would be a streamlined approach to support local governments in having positive engagement with people who were having to sleep rough.

“There are inconsistencies in the way in which local governments respond to people who are sleeping rough, so it is a work-in-progress however, there are some positive examples,” she said.

“The City of Joondalup takes a compassionate, rather than punitive approach, towards people experiencing homelessness.

“City staff members provide information and advocacy leading to affordable housing and other support services for people who were once sleeping rough.”

Ms Mackenzie, from Fremantle, said frontline staff were trained and protocol guided staff members, who also gave people experiencing homelessness information, support, and referrals to support services.

“Rough sleepers are reported to a central point then locations are visited by a trained team of volunteers,” she said.

“They have success in the provision of links for people experiencing homelessness into secure accommodation and community support services.”

Ms Mackenzie also praised the cities of Rockingham and Kwinana which formed an interagency working group, and the City of Perth for developing a plan to end homelessness based on the WA Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) 10-year action plan.