Perth businesses count cost of homelessness

Stock image.
Stock image.

BUSINESSES in the Perth CBD are spending more than $50,000 a year to protect their staff from homeless people.

They reported staff had been assaulted, needles left lying around, buildings vandalised and guests verbally assaulted.

One business in the Wellington Street-Pier Street area has had to hire an escort and security company for about $55,000 per year to escort staff to their cars in the evening.

Other Perth businesses have had to hire full-time security and install CCTV.

Issues with homeless people are so bad that a group of Aberdeen Street landowners lodged objections to the City of Perth considering using a carpark outside Tranby Centre on that street as a hub for homeless services.

People experiencing or at risk of being homeless have barriers to accessing healthcare.

They said they experienced issues on a daily basis, such as vandalism, threatening behaviour and drug use.

The situation was revealed when the City sought feedback on which site to use for a service hub.

City commissioners this week endorsed using a site near the closed Moore Street railway crossing for a 12-month trial starting in January.

The City plans to spend nearly $145,000 on the site, including $18,796 for two security guards four hours a day for the first three months.

The Public Transport Authority gave the City funding to upgrade lighting and CCTV in the area.

The Aberdeen Street site was the most popular site among service organisations.

360 Health + Community interim CEO Gautam Gupta said the 360 StreetDoctor service was excited about the Moore Street site.

“The opportunity to work alongside other service providers in a safe and accessible space means we can continue to provide quality healthcare and other essential health and social well-being services to people in need,” he said.

“People experiencing or at risk of being homeless have unique barriers to accessing healthcare. The new process means 360 StreetDoctor can confidently assist people to access consistently available services that are well equipped to support people in unique circumstances and working to end the cycle of homelessness.”

City Chair Commissioner Andrew Hammond said the hub was intended to effectively use resources and identify gaps in services.

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