Homeless helpers

Homelessness in the spotlight: Pastor Garry Fisher, WAHA CEO Owen Farmer, David Gibbs, Warren Dodd, Pam Rudling, and Michael Portier. Photo: Shannon Wood.

Homelessness in the spotlight: Pastor Garry Fisher, WAHA CEO Owen Farmer, David Gibbs, Warren Dodd, Pam Rudling, and Michael Portier. Photo: Shannon Wood.

The region’s homeless population and the services on offer to assist those sleeping rough are in the spotlight for WA’s Homelessness Week.

Homelessness Week is an annual week between August 7 – 13 and aims to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues these people face.

Western Australian Homeless Advocate chief executive officer Owen Farmer visited Collie last week to speak to Collie’s homeless population about the types of services they can access in the region and to offer them some guidance to help to break the cycle of homelessness.

“I’m the advocate for all of the homeless people from all over Australia,” Mr Farmer said. 

“I come down to country towns to see if I can be of assistance with a lot of the organisations that are looking after the homeless people. I connect with all the organisations, to make sure the people down here are not forgotten about.”

Mr Farmer believes homelessness services are needed more now than ever in regional centres as it becomes harder for people to find stable employment.

“We are using all of the agencies instead of reinventing the wheel, we will use what we have already got in our towns and cities,” he said. 

“There would have to be about 25 plus, homeless people here in Collie and that’s with our indigenous people as well, which is causing a lot of heartache with them with the youth not attending school as a result and because there is no work for people.”

Anglicare WA chief executive officer Ian Carter AM said on on average on any one night there were 10,000 homeless people across the state.

“There will be a proportion of those down this way, Bunbury being large enough there will certainly be people living on the streets,” he said. 

“There’s homelessness wherever you go, there are certainly higher levels of homelessness in the Perth metropolitan area than down here, but there still is homelessness down here and so homelessness services are needed just as much down here.”

For more information about Homelessness Week WA, the resources available to homeless people, or what you can do to help, go to shelterwa.org.au.

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