Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New report shines spotlight on homelessness in Albany

A new report has found that more than 160 people are currently homeless in the WA city of Albany.

Albany City Council says the report has laid bare the extent of the growing homelessness crisis in Albany and strengthened calls for more Government support to address the issue.

The data was collected at the Albany Homelessness Connection Event on December 6 last year, which invited homeless residents to enjoy a hot meal which discussing their situation and accessing assistance.

It followed a similar event held in May 2023 and recorded an increase in participation, with 98 participants representing 165 people experiencing homelessness on the day including partners and dependents, the Council says.

Albany Youth Support Association Chief Executive, Ian Clarke said the 10 to 30-year age group continued to be the highest cohort of people experiencing homelessness.

“Regional cities face as much, if not more per capita, of people suffering homelessness without the benefit of the metro-based services,” he said.

“The evidence proves the need for early intervention investment, with countless cost benefits that showcase significant financial returns to the community.

“With 31% of those interviewed having children, it underscores the pressing issue of limited or no immediate housing options.”

Council says the critical lack of housing supply is evidenced in the limited availability of rental accommodation in Albany. As at June 30 2023, only 17 dwellings were listed for rent, an 85% reduction since 2019 and demand for rentals continues to exceed supply.

Advanced Housing Chief Executive, John Lysaught said the data tells the story that homelessness is a serious problem in Albany.

“The homelessness crisis in Albany is a real issue and the data collected at the Connections Event is a stark reminder of the urgent need for compassionate, community-driven solutions,” he said.

“As we navigate the complexities of this issue, our collective commitment must grow stronger, emphasising not only shelter but also understanding, support, and a united effort to bring about positive change for those experiencing homelessness.”

Mayor, Greg Stocks said the data received through the Connections Event was “eye-opening”. 

“The data shows us that homelessness is happening to men and women equally, with the majority having experienced homelessness for 12 months or more and who have been finding shelter by couch surfing or sleeping rough,” he said.

“Through this initiative, we are not only providing immediate support to those in need, but also laying the foundation for comprehensive and informed strategies to tackle homelessness in our community.”

Mr Clarke said Government support was needed to help the community address homelessness in Albany.

“This requires a multifaceted approach involving government, non-profit organisations, community and individuals with lived experiences,” he said.

“We must work together and advocate for meaningful solutions, fostering a community where homelessness is not just a crisis but a challenge we are committed to overcoming.

“There is an urgent need for the State Government to invest in a future which may not bring them immediate reward, but history will show their leadership,” he said.

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