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Whether it's 20 lives or 15, Perth's homelessness system has 'failure built in'

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Major questions remain over how Western Australia will end homelessness through switching to a ‘housing-first’ approach, with a strategy announced a year ago still nowhere near being released.

Meanwhile, a world authority on homelessness visited Perth to warn that without this approach, any other housing initiatives – such as those announced last week, perhaps – have failure “built in”.

Entrenched disadvantage can lead to homelessness.Credit:File photo

Adopted in Ireland, New Zealand and Canada, Housing First turns the traditional model on its head.

Instead of expecting people to address their mental illness or addictions before being housed, Housing First means they get a permanent home with no readiness conditions. Then, they can realistically and meaningfully address other issues.

In April 2018, WA’s biggest community organisations including Anglicare, Shelter WA and the Red Cross, which had joined forces as the WA Alliance to End Homelessness, launched their comprehensive 10-year strategy to end homelessness by 2028 on Housing First principles.

In August 2018, the state government announced the government would create its own 10-year strategy – not to “duplicate” the Alliance’s work, but “link to and expand” on it with a draft to be published by the end of 2018.

Nothing happened at the end of 2018, the government being hard at work on its ‘directions paper’.

In April 2019, this paper was released for yet more public comment.

Now, during Homelessness Week 2019, the government has still not published its strategy.

Nothing is expected before the end of the year and I am not holding my breath for any........

© WA Today