The City of Perth awoke to the smell of sizzling sausages and the sounds of a street choir this morning to mark the start of Homeless Persons Week.
Launching the week of events in Forrest Place today, Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said the Carpenter Government was committed to tackling homelessness in Western Australia.
“The State Government provided homeless services with their first real funding boost in more than a decade in 2006-07, with a 10 per cent increase to the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program(SAAP),” Ms Ellery said.
“We have built on this investment this year with a further $3.2million over four years for existing SAAP programs that are experiencing the greatest demand pressures.
“Because 20 per cent of SAAP clients are young people aged between 15 and 24 years, and because the number of young people sleeping rough has doubled over the past two decades, we have identified youth services as the highest priority.
“Therefore, we will use the $3.2million to immediately increase funding to services dealing with youth homelessness.
“A total of 20 youth SAAP services across the State will receive an increase to their base level funding, bringing it to a maximum of $470,000 a year.
“This represents an increase of up to $100,000 a year for some services.”
The Minister said the Government was particularly focused on helping disadvantaged young people who, in the current housing climate, were often excluded from rental opportunities.
“Young people can often be overlooked by landlords because they are studying or not in full-time work, and nor do they have the established rental history of older people,” she said.
“Without a roof over their heads, young people are at risk of dropping out of study and lowering their job prospects and, in the worst case, they risk joining the ranks of the long-term homeless.”
The WA Government commits $37million each year for 137 not-for-profit services that help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
In September 2007, the Government announced a $238million housing affordability package that will see 24 new social housing dwellings built; up to 300 new lodging house and crisis accommodation rooms; and incentives to relocate people in under-occupied properties to smaller properties.
The Government is also finalising negotiations with the Australian Government for the ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative, in which 68 new properties will be created over the next five years for Western Australians experiencing homelessness.
Homeless Persons Week is a national event held from August 4 to 10. In WA, it is co-ordinated by the Community Housing Coalition of WA.
For more information on the week, visit: http://www.communityhousing.com.au
Minister's office - 9213 7150