Homelessness Week shines light on regional issue

Working towards zero homelessness: Bunbury Street Chaplains director Tim Wheeldon, Bunbury MLA Don Punch and Shelter WA vice chair Neil Hamilton.
Working towards zero homelessness: Bunbury Street Chaplains director Tim Wheeldon, Bunbury MLA Don Punch and Shelter WA vice chair Neil Hamilton.

Recognised from August 6 to 12, Homelessness Week helps to raise awareness of the issues and its impacts.

Bunbury Street Chaplains director Tim Wheeldon is calling for human compassion during this week and always, as a way to work with those who find themselves out in the cold. 

“It’s a skill to see who is under the weather and who is in the weather,” he said.

Mr Wheeldon has also been running a weekly Sunday breakfast at The Vineyard Christian Church for the past four years, born out of a need he could see within the community. 

“My concern is it’s going to get worse not better – there are people in need right now,” he said.

Shelter WA vice chair and former Accordwest chief executive Neil Hamilton said leaders and service providers needed to work towards zero homelessness. 

“Homelessness is not just the people we see on the streets, it takes many forms,” he said. 

“We know there are a significant number of people within the South West region who are homeless.

“We need to move beyond managing homelessness to getting rid of homelessness and that’s where I think the debate needs to be heading.”

"It’s about that invitation to key stakeholders, service providers and government to come back and have a renewed look at how this might be done and if there are better ways of doing it. 

"It is imperative that people sit round the table and seek new ways to address the homelessness issue." 

Couch Conversations will be held at the Margaret River Organic Garden from 11am – 12.30pm on Saturday 11 August.

The event is free and will provide a safe and supportive space for people to share their experiences, concerns and practical ideas for solving the issue of housing stress and homelessness in the South West.

Locals wishing to contribute to the homelessness solution can help by promoting local activities and events on social media and their friend networks, donate winter weather gear or food goods to the Margaret River Community Centre between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday, or volunteer at the Margaret River Soup Kitchen, the MR Community Centre or Just Home.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or needs assistance accessing housing contact Just Home’s Katie Gray, 9am-1pm, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on 0431 150 836.