‘Practically no facilities for homeless’ in Midland says Indigo Junction boss

‘Practically no facilities for homeless’ in Midland says Indigo Junction boss

INDIGO Junction chief executive Don Tunnicliffe said there were virtually no practical facilities for the homeless in the Midland area.

“There are shower facilities in Swan View which are available one day a week for homeless people,” he said.

“The showers are free but they have to get there; overall there is very little around to help them.”

Mr Tunnicliffe said the other big problem for homeless people was the storage of documents.

“They need a safe place to keep their birth certificates, driver’s licenses and other documents like bank account paperwork,” he said.

MORE: The face of homelessness in Midland

When Mark’s car was impounded by the City of Swan in February 2106, all of his paperwork inside the car was taken.

“My car was parked in Byers Road, where any day of the week you will see people have parked their cars on the verge,” he said.

“All my paperwork was in the glove box.”

His birth certificate, computer, tax returns, driver’s license, car registration papers and number plates were all in the car, a VW 1985 Transporter van.

He also had a computer, microwave, fridge and television in the car. Apart from losing these items, he has also lost his paperwork.

“I feel like I have been the victim of identity theft,” Mark said.

City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the council had disposed of the car and the documents when the car was impounded.

“Where the owner has not made arrangements to reclaim the vehicle, belongings are disposed of appropriately,” Mr Foley said.

The City of Swan website says abandoned vehicles can be impounded by the council under the Litter Act 1979.

However it also says: “If abandonment of your vehicle is unavoidable, you should leave a note with your contact details and the circumstances on your dash board”.

Mark said he complied with this request, leaving his phone number and contact details on the car when the infringement was issued.

He said he had an operational mobile phone and an address care of Guildford Post Office.

Mark said the City of Swan did not contact him, although he contacted it in February to make a plan to move the car, which was awaiting parts when a notice was placed on its windscreen.

“We sympathise with the unfortunate circumstances this person has found themselves in and always endeavour to assist such people to connect with local service providers,” Mr Foley said.

“Previously when homeless people have been identified as camping in vehicles, the City attempts to facilitate support and allows an opportunity for them to move on their own accord.”

MORE: City of Swan focus on causes, planning for homeless

Despite Mark contacting the City of Swan he was unable to ascertain whether it had taken his car or not when he discovered it was missing from Byers Road.

“The City advised Mark in writing on April 12 to his last known postal address that his vehicle had been impounded,” Mr Foley said.

But Mark said he did not receive this letter or any notification that the City of Swan had impounded his car, despite asking several times between February and April if it had the car.

The City of Swan said since the issue of homelessness had increased it had also developed new policies for staff to engage and assist homeless people.

“When residents or local businesses report issues or complaints relating to homeless people, Community Safety staff work to ensure they balance the needs of both parties,” Mr Foley said.