Joondalup and Wanneroo councils team up to tackle homelessness

Joondalup and Wanneroo councils team up to tackle homelessness

THE cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo have joined forces for a regional approach to target homelessness.

Representatives from both cities, State Government, not-for-profit organisations, commercial and local businesses joined with community members who have experienced homelessness for a workshop at the newly opened Pearsall Hocking Community Centre.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the cities were working together to prevent and respond to this complex and growing issue.

“We are aware homelessness is on the rise and we recognise this is an issue that spans municipal boundaries,” she said.

“There are many contributing factors to homelessness including domestic violence, unemployment, a shortage of affordable housing, mental health and family breakdowns due to drug and alcohol abuse – and these are just a few.

“Both cities agree our role in addressing homelessness is one of co-ordination, support and advocacy.

“Our priority is to get people off the streets and into a healthy and optimistic environment that provides dignity, respect and an improved quality of life.”

Between January and September, Joondalup officers reported 58 people as sleeping rough, while Wanneroo staff reported 13 people between January and June.

Service providers in the northern suburbs have also reported high demand for supported accommodation, with a significant number turned away because of a lack of availability.

Since March, the cities have met regularly to progress the development of the Regional Homelessness Strategy.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the workshop was a success, generating many new ideas that could be incorporated in the strategy.

“It was pleasing that each group looked at the issue from a different perspective and made informed recommendations on how the two cities could work more collaboratively on this growing issue of concern in the northern corridor,” he said.

“Local Government needs to take a proactive approach to homelessness, adopting appropriate strategies and actively engaging with relevant stakeholders to ensure those affected can find suitable housing in which to live.

“This sharing of resources, knowledge and programming can maximise the provision of services available.”

Both cities have developed and implemented internal protocols to help staff members who encounter people sleeping rough.