Homeless shelter to open next year

The proposed Tom Fisher House shelter for homeless men and couples in Highgate, expected to open next year, is named after 93-year-old Tom Fisher (left), St Vincent de Paul Society’s longest serving volunteer.
The proposed Tom Fisher House shelter for homeless men and couples in Highgate, expected to open next year, is named after 93-year-old Tom Fisher (left), St Vincent de Paul Society’s longest serving volunteer.

Premier Colin Barnett and Child Protection Minister Helen Morton launched the pre-construction works at a soil-turning ceremony last week.

Mr Barnett said the initiative, a collaboration between the State Government and St Vincent de Paul Society, would provide overnight accommodation for up to 10 chronically homeless men and couples.

St Vincent de Paul will operate the shelter when it opens in the middle of next year.

‘As St Vincent de Paul’s longest serving volunteer, it is fitting that Tom Fisher should be giving his name to this shelter, which will continue offering the same compassion, support and hope he has offered to so many during his time with the charity,’ Mr Barnett said.

Mr Fisher (93) said he was proud to have the house named in his honour.

‘I think the announcement of this new service for people experiencing homelessness is wonderful,’ he said.

‘My heart goes out to people who are sleeping rough while I am in my warm bed.’

Mr Fisher has been with the charity for 52 years and was state president for some of that time.

‘My idea as president was to look after the very poor and homeless,’ he said.

‘We had a night shelter in East Perth and I’d help make beds and serve breakfast.

‘The homeless have been at the forefront of my thinking for so long.

‘I feel I have been given many good things in life, so why not share it?’

St Vincent de Paul Society chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick said Tom Fisher House would work in collaboration with other service providers to provide a safe haven to the most vulnerable.

‘It will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team with health, mental health and drug and alcohol skills to assist visitors and support their move away from the cycle of homelessness,’ he said.