While door knocking this weekend, a few people raised concerns about what was being done to address homelessness in Fremantle.
It was refreshing that the residents I spoke to emphasised the need to help people experiencing homelessness rather than simply moving them on, and it reminded me what a compassionate community we live in.
I thought I would provide a summary about the ways in which Fremantle Council is working to improve this complex issue.
- Our safety officers move people from sleeping in doors etc and will direct them to local support services. Our safety team know many of the people sleeping rough in Fremantle on a first name basis and genuinely want to help people to get off the street.
- Begging is not permitted and our safety officers will move people on.
- The Council installed number of “Donate without Doubt” posts around the city to reduce begging, but allow people to give money to those most in need. The Council provides match funding for every dollar donated, last year $10,000 was donated to St Pats through the scheme.
- The council is working closely with St Pats and other service providers, plus state government agencies to try to reduce homelessness in Fremantle. Beverley Bone, our incredible manager of Community Development has been facilitating forums that bring together all the various stakeholders and service providers in Fremantle so that there can be better coordination of services and resources that work to help the homeless in and around Fremantle.
- The “20 homes for 20 lives project” is a collaboration between the State Government, the Fremantle Council and the private sector to house local people who are homeless.
- We are also actively working with developers and community housing providers to increase the amount of affordable housing in Fremantle.
- The Freo Alternative is also intended to create opportunities for more modest and affordable housing options in Fremantle. The scheme was approved in March this year and we are now encouraging land owners in the relevant areas to consider this development option.
- The Fremantle Council also sponsors the Long Table Dinner, which takes place on 28 November this year to help raise funds to help the homeless.
- During Homelessness Week hold a Couch Conversation, enabling people to connect with those who are homeless in our community and better understand homelessness.
The Council works hard to address the complex and challenging issue of homelessness, which is a widespread issue beyond Fremantle, and largely the responsibility of State Government. However it is certainly a visible issue in Fremantle that can have a negative impact on business and the community. We advocate for better funding for support services and encourage a “Housing First” approach that houses people and then provides wraparound services to help people get back on their feet.
If you have any questions or comments on this issue, get in touch or leave a comment below. And don’t forget to book for the Long Table Dinner or drop your change into the Donate without Doubt life rings to help out.