Homelessness is a complex issue faced by our community. On Census night in 2016 there were an estimated 9,005 people who were homeless in Western Australia – sleeping rough, couch surfing or living in boarding houses, supported accommodation for the homeless or severely overcrowded accommodation.

People experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness can face multiple difficulties and often require access to a wide range of supports and services. The complexity of the issue means that it cannot be solved by one agency or organisation working alone.

The recent COVID-19 Pandemic has created a significant homelessness consequence through the need for a public health response to shelter rough sleepers in safe accommodation and increasing numbers of rough sleepers and homeless people due to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

Local Government is increasingly being called upon to play a role in homelessness policy responses, particularly through facilitating localised responses.  Local Government through its planning, health, community development and regulatory powers can facilitate positive local and regional responses to end homelessness, however does not see that it has a lead role rather one of a stakeholder that requires early engagement in the understanding of collaborative approaches that improve the quality of life for people experiencing homelessness in all of its manifestations.  

Submission to the State 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness

In March 2019, the Department of Communities released a Directions Paper for the 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness: Western Australia 2019 - 2029. WALGA consulted with Local Govenments to develop a submission which was endorsed by State Council in May 2019.
Read the full submission here.

As a result of Local Government input to this process the All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia's 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020 - 2030, when released in late 2019, defined Local Government's role in Homelessness.

Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Financial Administration of Homelessness Services

In November 2021, the Legislative Council, Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations resolved to inquire into the financial administration of services addressing homelessness in Western Australia. The terms of reference guiding the inquiry are;
1. The current funding and delivery of homelessness services;
2. ‘All Paths Lead to a Home’, Western Australia’s 10 Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020 – 2030;
3. Existing data systems and how data informs service delivery; and
4. Any other related matter.

WALGA undertook consultation with Local Governments across WA in January and February 2022 to inform a Submission to the inquiry which was endorsed by State Council in March 2022.
Read the full submission here.

Local Government Homelessness Knowledge Hub Project

Shelter WA received Lotterywest funding to undertake the Local Government Homelessness Knowledge Hub Project in partnership with the WALGA and Local Government Professionals WA.

The Project will enable better collaboration between Local Governments, and between Local Governments and the community services sector, to prevent and to respond to homelessness. The Project will develop an online homelessness resource (a Local Government Homelessness Knowledge Hub) for Local Governments to share information and to inform evidence-based homelessness responses that respond to community needs.
The new Knowledge Hub will be launched during Homelessness Week 1 - 7 August, 2022.