“Under the McGowan Labor Government, homelessness in WA has reached crisis point,” said Shadow Minister for Housing, Steve Martin MLC.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Perth and surrounds has increased by over 68% since November 2020.
Data collated by the WA Alliance to End Homelessness has found that there are at least 1,052 people who are experiencing homelessness on Perth streets. The true number is unknown, but it is expected to be much higher.
A recent update by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has also found that the number of clients who were receiving support from the Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) in Western Australia has increased by 27% since July 2017.
The number of clients who received support from SHS in Western Australia fluctuated between 5,932 clients in July 2017 to 6,729 clients in December 2021.
The number of clients peaked at 7,221 people in March 2021.
“This is a stark reminder that the homeless and housing crisis is not going away,” said Mr Martin.
“Since coming into power in 2017, the McGowan Labor Government has seen the number of people living on our streets steadily increase.
“In a state as wealthy as Western Australia, it is beyond belief that this has been allowed to happen.
“It is even more disgraceful that the government has a brand new 100-bed facility in Wellington Street that is sitting half empty while people are sleeping on the street outside,” said Mr Martin.
The increase in homelessness and people seeking support to stay off the streets is closely linked to the blow out of the public housing waitlist.
“Since 2018, the McGowan Labor Government have seen applications for public housing increase by over 30%,” said Mr Martin. “There are about 16,000 more people on the waitlist than there were just over 3 years ago.”
The average wait time for a public housing placement is around 2 years. However almost 3,000 people have been waiting four years or more.
“This simply isn’t good enough. Despite knowing how many Western Australians are struggling to afford the cost of living and pay their rent on time, the Government are yet to take any meaningful, immediate action.
“Since coming into power, the McGowan Labor Government have sold off over 1,300 public homes, there are now almost 40,000 people on the waitlist and more people are experiencing homelessness than ever before.
“It’s time that the Premier and his Labor Government come up with a solution that gets people off our streets and into safe housing today.”