Residents urge to dig deep for Homelessness Week

Residents urge to dig deep for Homelessness Week

LOCAL governments are encouraging residents to support those experiencing homelessness by making donations during Homelessness Week.

The cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo have been developing a regional strategy to address growing numbers of people who are homeless or sleeping rough.

“Homelessness knows no boundaries,” Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said.

“Sometimes all it takes is a change in circumstances and any one of us could become homeless.”       

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said homelessness was an issue within the community, with more than 9000 people experiencing homelessness in WA every night.

“People often think that homelessness does not exist here in the City of Wanneroo but the facts show a different story,” she said.

“A number of people are experiencing hardship and finding themselves in vulnerable situations due to housing affordability, job losses and financial pressures from the current economic environment.

“It is important to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with being homeless as it could happen to anyone.

“Having access to housing is a basic human right that everyone deserves.”

The 2016 theme of Homelessness Week, which runs until August 8, is ‘Homelessness Counts’ which encourages people to recognise those experiencing homelessness as a valuable part of society.

“Homelessness does count and it does matter to our leaders and decision makers,” Mr Pickard said.

“Access to housing is a basic human need and no one in this day and age in our country should have to sleep without a roof over their head.

“The number of people sleeping rough within our City and neighbouring Wanneroo has increased in recent months due to housing affordability and availability pressures and the fact that both Cities are easily accessible by public transport and are seen as relatively safe places to spend the night.

“This problem is only going to increase as the population continues to grow.

“Local government needs to take 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.”