The City of Swan is finding new ways to tackle homelessness, employing a staff member dedicated to liaising with support services and helping those in the City who are doing it tough.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this year showed that in 2021 the City had more rough sleepers than any other local government in WA.
Supporting those people and working to reduce homelessness is a responsibility that the City – and its new Homelessness Project Officer, Rosie Cooper – take seriously.
Ms Cooper, pictured, said she was eager to help the support services that were already doing incredible work in the City.
“Tackling homelessness is so much bigger than one person,” Ms Cooper said.
“My role allows me to act as a conduit between residents, homelessness services and government agencies within the City of Swan, which is key when supporting people experiencing homelessness.”
Ms Cooper joined the City with extensive experience in the homelessness sector.
Having worked in the justice system, with young people and with Aboriginal communities, she is a subject matter expert who can help shape the City’s approach to homelessness.
“There are many different factors that come into play when someone experiences homelessness and it is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Ms Cooper said.
“Depending on their circumstances, someone might need to connect with legal services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, meal services and laundry services.”
In recent years, the City has supported the development of the Midland Alliance to End Homelessness to strengthen access to local services.
City staff have been offered training in preventing and responding to homelessness.
“We’re working on training our on-the-ground staff so that they are equipped with a compassionate approach when communicating with people experiencing homelessness,” Ms Cooper said.
These strategies form part of the City’s longer term plan to reduce homelessness.
This week (August 7-13) is Homelessness Week, when Australia shines a light on homelessness and the long-term solutions such as a coordinated approach and social housing.
If you are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, support is available. Visit the City of Swan website for information.