Thinking outside Square

Ms Evangel said she was arranging workshops with stakeholders involved in Wellington Square issues to discuss solutions, including the possibility of establishing ‘Ronald McDonald style’ accommodation for patients and families.

Earlier this year, the Guardian Express reported on a petition signed by local residents complaining that the Square was like a ‘ghetto’ plagued by anti-social behaviour from people living at the park.

‘This place would need to be culturally friendly in order for people to actually wish to go and stay there rather than staying in places such as Wellington Square,’ Ms Evangel said.

‘The aim of this working group will be to work through key issues and listen to the experiences, advice and suggestions in moving forward with short, medium and long- term solutions that will benefit people who find themselves sleeping at Wellington Square and the residents and business in the surrounding areas.’

Ms Evangel said she would also lobby for an improvement in health services and an increase in the number of medical practitioners in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions in order to allow patients to stay at home rather than travelling to Perth for treatment.

Salvation Army spokesman Warren Palmer said while the organisation did not believe there was a unique homelessness crisis in Wellington Square, it did fear the local community was driven by a harmful desire of ‘not wanting those people in our community’.

‘Whilst some people frequenting Wellington Square are clearly there because of proximity to the hospital for treatment purposes, most who gather in the park cause no concerns and enjoy the park,’ he said.

‘If treatment in Perth was necessary, a facility where people can stay with extended family would of course be welcomed, as long as it was culturally appropriate and close to the hospital and parkland.’