Call for more support for homeless

HAND founder Tanya Cairns says more facilities are needed to help homeless people in the northern suburbs.
HAND founder Tanya Cairns says more facilities are needed to help homeless people in the northern suburbs.

A CHARITY working on the frontline of tackling homelessness in local suburbs says a drop-in centre and crisis accommodation would go a long way to helping the growing numbers of people travelling north to “sleep rouugh”.

HAND (Homeless, At Risk, Needy and Disadvantaged) founder Tanya Cairns said there were now at least 500 homeless people north of the river, with more avoiding the city because of street intimidation.

And with more people choosing “safer and quieter” suburbs over the “hassle” of city streets, she said the sorts of vital facilities and services that were available in Perth were needed locally.

Ms Cairns said the support would also likely lead to a drop in crime, which was often driven by boredom.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said talks with Joondalup council had “gained momentum” to facilitate a joint approach to tackling homelessness, which was now prevalent in both cities.

Last week, each council called for staff to prepare a report on homelessness and a shared resource and drop-in centre space.

Mrs Roberts said the report would provide an opportunity for the City to advocate for the provision of relevant crisis accommodation in the north-west corridor.

“Addressing this issue will require a co-ordinated approach and sharing that effort with the City of Joondalup will help to actively engage state government agencies and not-for-profit groups currently operating in this area,” she said.

Mrs Roberts said Wanneroo rangers were aware of instances where homeless people had sheltered at City facilities.

“It is very sad to see and the increase of people in need cannot be ignored,” she said.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard told the council last Tuesday night there were four people sleeping in Yellagonga Regional Park and 30 families sleeping in their cars.

“In today’s society, I don’t think that’s acceptable and I think we need to do whatever we can,” he said.

Ms Cairns said there were often homeless people in Butler, Merriwa, Clarkson and Ridgewood.

“We actually just did the call-out to Kinross today; we have found a crib near a local park and that was investigated,” she said.

“We have a lot of families living out of their cars along the coast lines.”

She said the cities had liaised with her about what was needed, with a day centre at the top of her wishlist.

“We need to make the homeless people feel wanted and that someone cares for them. It gives them a bit more self-esteem and confidence,” she said.