COVID causes steep rise in homelessness

Homelessness Week concludes on Sunday (The Record/Eric Martin)

With Perth this week experiencing some of its coldest nights in more than 15 years, the need to remember 9000 West Australians who are homeless is ever more pressing. Source: The Record.

A key focus of Homelessness Week (August 2-8) is the impact of homelessness on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In Western Australia, some 30 per cent of the over 9,000 people facing homelessness every night are First Nations people.

Michael Piu, chief executive of Fremantle-based homeless service St Patrick’s Community Support, said he hoped through awareness activities such as Homelessness Week, the sector “can help the community to come to a better understanding of the real causes of homelessness, and the actions required to end homelessness”.

Mr Piu said the COVID-19 pandemic had seen an increase in people needing homelessness services.

“In the Fremantle region alone our data is indicating a more than doubling of rough sleeping since the pandemic began, which is very concerning,” he said.

“We are also concerned about those who perhaps have not had to access the welfare system in the past, and perhaps don’t know how to navigate and indeed might well be reluctant to do so – the sooner we can reach them, the more likely it is we can prevent their situation becoming entrenched.”


Homelessness Week 2020: Perth Archdiocese works to see an end to those without a roof (The Record)

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