Tents pitched at Pioneer Park (photo: Erin Guy, courtesy of Freo Street Kitchen).
City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has thanked the local community for its outpouring of support for homeless and disadvantaged people camped in Pioneer Park over the festive season.
Mayor Pettitt said it was a typical and “very Freo” response to help people in need and that now was the time to also show support for the permanent and ongoing services available.
About 50 tents have been pitched at Pioneer Park after organisers asked the City to allow a 24-hour food service on Boxing Day while some providers were closed.
Mayor Pettitt thanked camp organisers and volunteers for their community spirit. He said it was now vital for all levels of government to work together to ensure that their generosity was matched with meaningful and sustainable support.
“The state government is primarily responsible for housing and homelessness and we need to ensure there is suitable accommodation and services available for people in this situation,” Mayor Pettitt said.
A meeting was held this week with camp organisers as well as service providers St Pat’s, Uniting WA, RUAH, and Wungening Aboriginal Corporation along with the Department of Communities and WA Police to transition to a more sustainable support network.
“The camp at Pioneer Park is not a suitable place for vulnerable people, and it is not in their best interests to stay there. But we recognise they need somewhere to go,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“What’s needed now is a direct outreach approach with the people who are currently in the tent city and talking to them about their accommodation needs and what other needs they may have.
“This first stage is going to be led by St Pat’s in partnership with the Wungening Aboriginal Corporation. Staff were at Pioneer Park yesterday to assess the needs of each of the people in the camp.
“Following this and once there is a better understanding of their needs, the state government is best placed to provide support to get these people into appropriate and sustainable accommodation with the right wraparound services that will ensure that people are able to stay housed and achieve quality of life.”
Mayor Pettitt said the City would continue to work closely with service agencies and advocate to the state government to make addressing homelessness an ongoing priority.
“The City and the broader Fremantle community has a long and proud record of providing compassion and support to people experiencing hardship and other disadvantages,” he said.
“It is incredibly important that we continue to keep the pressure on for long-term solutions to this difficult and complex issue.”