Homelessness leaves sour note

Cafe Cafe owner Michael Battalis said he shuddered to think what could have happened if the guitar had smashed the car window or hit a pedestrian.

‘Over the past three months there have been three or four incidents that people have called the police over, but probably more like 13 or 14 overall,’ Mr Battalis said.

‘It’s a sensitive subject because they are usually drunk or under the influence of something.

‘When they sit there swearing and asking for money, I would say people definitely feel uncomfortable and even quite unsafe.’

Since opening Cafe Cafe opposite the Subiaco railway station in 2000, Mr Battalis said he had noticed an increase in the number of homeless people.

They usually gathered near the railway station.

‘We’re open seven days a week and 13 hours a day, so we see a lot more of what goes on than anyone else in the shopping centre,’ he said.

‘I haven’t made any formal complaints because we’re just trying to do our work and get on with business.’

Salvation Army street team and doorways community program co-ordinator Kris Halliday said ‘rough sleepers’ gravitated towards Subiaco because it was an inner-city area with plenty of lighting and security.

He said Salvation Army outreach workers visited people sleeping in parks and shop doorways on Friday and Saturday nights.

‘As well as providing immediate needs such as a hot meal or sleeping bag, we make contact with the individuals and assist them to move into more permanent accommodation,’ he said.

City of Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said the City was very aware of the increasing number of homeless people in Subiaco.

‘It is certainly indicative of the changing times ” little rental accommodation, joblessness, lack of social housing’