Controversial plan for homeless shelter refused

A men's shelter was proposed for Penola House.
A men's shelter was proposed for Penola House.

THE City of Rockingham refused the controversial proposal for a men’s shelter in Shoalwater at Tuesday night’s meeting.

This was despite a council recommendation to approve transitional accommodation for 31 males at risk of homelessness at Lot 28 Penguin Road.

Proposed homeless shelter recommended for approval

Members of the public clapped when only two councillors, Matt Whitfield and Katherine Summers, supported the homeless shelter application in a packed council chamber.

Councillor Deb Hamblin summarised why the proposal was refused.

She said it was in a location without enough support services, the scale of 31 men was excessive, it was in a residential area, inadequate parking, not enough recreational space for the men, no full-time staff at the facility and would have a detrimental impact on tourism.

Cr Summers said she had been homeless twice in her life and homeless people have the same rights as “any of us”.

She urged councillors and residents to put their self-interest aside.

A map of where the men’s shelter would have been.

“Give these people a crack and a chance,” she said.

“It’s Easter — if Jesus Christ was in this room and showed you his wounds … look into your hearts.”

Cr Whitfield said the concerns of nearby residents about safety were justified, but police were responsible for dealing with crime.

“We represent the residents of Rockingham in totality,” he said.

“We should be doing more to help the homeless people.”

The proponent has indicated they will appeal council’s decision to the State Administrative Tribunal.