Mental Health Outreach Officer to assist homeless in Fremantle
A new Mental Health Outreach Officer is the latest initiative of the City of Fremantle to assist people experiencing homelessness.
The City recently received a state government grant of $96,934 under the Local Government Partnership Fund for Homelessness.
That funding will be matched dollar for dollar and used to enagage a Mental Health Outreach Officer, who will provide outreach and mental health intervention for people with complex health issues that are experiencing chronic homelessness and rough sleeping.
The City of Fremantle is shining a spotlight on housing and health during Homelessness Week this week.
Held annually across Australia, Homelessness Week seeks to raise awareness of homelessness in our community and explore both short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.
Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the critical role of housing and appropriate support services in keeping everybody safe and well.
“The City of Fremantle works very closely with the state government and community service providers to provide support to homeless people, with the aim of assisting them to get off the streets and into permanent accommodation,” Mayor Fitzhardinge said.
“The Local Government Partnership Fund for Homelessness is a new initiative from the state government to find new and proactive ways to respond to homelessness. It acknowledges that efforts to end homelessness need multiple approaches and solutions.
“As one of only two local governments in the state to receive this funding we will consult with a range of stakeholders, including the Police and St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, in developing the role.
“In addition to the Mental Health Outreach Officer, the City has supported the My Home project in North Fremantle and Uniting WA’s Wyn Carr House project, which will both provide accommodation to older women.
“We’re also working with St Pats on their new Community Support Centre that includes 28 new long-stay apartments, and assisting with their management of the lodging house at 100 Hampton Road.
“In the past financial year, the City contributed almost half a million dollars towards homeless support services and programs, including the 20 Lives 20 Homes project, our award-winning Library Connect service and the Donate Without Doubt program.
“Our Tenancy Advocacy service at the Fremantle Community Legal Centre also assists hundreds of people each year who are at risk of becoming homeless.
“The latest ‘By Name’ list indicates there’s been a reduction in the number of homeless people in Fremantle over the past 12 months, with 89 people identified as homeless in June this year compared to 199 in June 2021.
“While this is an encouraging trend, there is still more that needs to be done to end homelessness in our community.
“The City of Fremantle will continue to offer support and assistance to those who need it, as well as advocate for more resources and services to be provided for vulnerable people in Fremantle.”
The 20 Lives 20 Homes program - a partnership between state and local government, the private sector and community service providers - provided wrap-around support and sustainable housing for 27 people who had lived rough in Fremantle for an average of seven years. All are now safely off the streets.
The Library Connect program involves a community support worker based at the Fremantle Library who engages and connects with people in a safe and welcoming environment, providing free advice, referrals and support on the ground where it is needed.
In just three months from March to May this year the service offered support to 112 people, of which more than three quarters were women.
The Fremantle Community Legal Service Tenant Advocacy Service last year assisted almost 200 clients on issues including evictions, bond disputes and breaches of rental agreements.
The City of Fremantle also produces a Community Support Map, which shows where all the relevant services such as medical, food relief, accommodation services are in the CBD area, contact numbers and times of all services.
Another way to make a difference this Homelessness Week is by giving to the Community Shelf at Fremantle Library. Donations of non-perishable food, personal hygiene and sanitary items, socks, beanies or hats and baby essentials are always needed and appreciated.
For more information on how the City of Fremantle is helping to end homelessness please visit fremantle.wa.gov.au/helping-end-homelessness.