$2.5m to house and support Bunbury homeless

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Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
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Community Services Minister Simone McGurk was upbeat about the latest move. Pic: Trevor Collens
Camera IconCommunity Services Minister Simone McGurk was upbeat about the latest move. Pic: Trevor Collens Credit: Trevor Collens

A State Government initiative to address homelessness in Bunbury has progressed to the next step, with a $2.5 million contract awarded to help rough sleepers access accommodation and support.

The announcement comes a week after a member of Bunbury’s homeless community was allegedly murdered at the Graham Bricknell Memorial Music Shell — a location popular among those sleeping rough.

Homeless mess at the Graeme Bricknell soundshell.
Camera IconHomeless mess at the Graeme Bricknell soundshell. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/South Western Times

Anglicare WA was awarded the contract to develop and deliver localised support services to help the homelessness in Bunbury, in partnership with Doors Wide Open and Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation.

Anglicare WA will work over five years to address rough sleeping in the area through outreach, after-hours support and intensive support while in housing.

The Housing First initiative is an evidence-based approach which aims to improve outcomes for homeless people by combining stable accommodation with the wraparound supports to keep them in that accommodation long-term.

In her last visit to Bunbury, Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said she hoped to have people “on the ground” doing the work before the end of 2020.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said homelessness was a complex issue, which is why the initiative partnered with the community services sector.

“Importantly, this service will be delivered in accordance with Housing First principles, meaning some of Bunbury's most vulnerable rough sleepers will be supported into stable housing and assisted to address the issues that led to them becoming homeless,” he said.

Ms McGurk was upbeat about the latest move.

We are now getting on with the job of leading innovative solutions that we know will improve outcomes for people experiencing homelessness in our State.

“The Housing First Support Service will play a crucial role in supporting people to first access safe and secure housing, and then build their capacity to maintain that tenancy by addressing any factors that contributed to them becoming homeless in the first place.”

Bunbury is without a homeless shelter after the council removed its open-air shelter in September due to “health and safety risks” to those using it and the community.

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