New partnership set to provide relief for homelessness in WA

St Bart's Partnership

St Bartholomew’s House in East Perth is partnering with BHP to help break the cycle of homelessness through a new $1 million partnership.

The two-year Helping Homelessness partnership will assist St Bart’s to help West Australians at risk of or experiencing homelessness, to access a range of accommodation and individualised support services.

John Berger, CEO of St Bart’s, said at least 10,000 people were homeless on any given night in Western Australia, with the leading causes being domestic violence, and financial and housing difficulties.

“We are very proud to partner with BHP, which is supporting St Bart’s to intervene and assist some of our most vulnerable women, children and men within our community,” Mr Berger said.

“Despite what people may think – individuals and families do not choose to be homeless,” Mr Berger said. “The experience of homelessness is devastating and can affect anyone, given the wrong set of circumstances. Losing a job, dealing with trauma, lack of family support during tough times, or poor mental health can all lead to homelessness,” he added.

“We provide unwavering support to our clients, who come from all walks of life. We acknowledge the difficult and complex journey they take, and we empower them to regain control and rebuild their lives using best practice recovery approaches.

Accommodation Coordinator, Susie Sim, says St Bart’s has assisted many women experiencing homelessness since the organisation opened the women’s service in 2014.

“We support women aged 50 years and over to address a range of traumatic issues that caused their homelessness,” said Ms Sim.

“The major causes encompass family breakdown, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, domestic violence, poor physical and mental health, financial hardship, drug and alcohol abuse.

It’s a very difficult time for them but there are many positive stories and the resilience of these women is inspiring.”

Seventy per cent of those assisted by St Bart’s are adult men.

David, 45, who was a client of St Bart’s after losing everything and living on the streets for four months, said his life changed after a chance meeting at a bus stop with a mother and daughter.

“They asked if I was ok and I said I wasn’t,” said David. “They both gave me a hug and from that moment onwards, things shifted and I didn’t feel invisible – I realised there were people who cared.”

Meath Hammond, BHP Head of Corporate Affairs WA, said BHP was pleased to support St Bart’s to deliver the Helping Homelessness partnership to assist the most vulnerable in our community.

“By partnering with St Bart’s, BHP hopes to assist in providing pathways for people to begin a journey towards stable long-term housing,” Mr Hammond said.

For more information contact St Bart’s on 9323 5100.

Ends

Media Contact – Corinne Hawke, General Manager Community Engagement

chawke@stbarts.org.au

M: 0407 195 102

About St Bart’s Services

 

St Bart’s has been delivering homelessness support services for more than 50 years in Western Australia. From its humble beginnings as a homeless men’s shelter, St Bart’s now delivers a range of accommodation and support services for people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness in –

  • Mental Health Support Services – we operate transitional and longer term recovery accommodation facilities and provide mental health support services to people living in the community, aligned to other mental health clinics in the community.

 

  • Aged Care – St Bart’s operates one of only 10 facilities of its kind in Australia to care for prematurely aged men who have experienced, or are at risk of, homelessness.
  • Crisis Accommodation – St Bart’s operates a crisis accommodation facility and individualised support service for men, at its Lime Street facilities in East Perth.

 

  • Transitional Accommodation – we operate transitional accommodation facilities and provide individualised support services for men, women and families across the Perth metro area.

 

  • Community Housing – we lease and manage community housing tenancies (with or without outreach/support services) for those able to live independently in the community.

 

  • Outreach Support – we provide Assertive Outreach Workers as part of the Street to Home program, supporting rough sleepers to access stable accommodation and individualised support services.

 

  • Families – we have a small Families Program, where we provide transitional accommodation (for up to 12 months) and individualised on-site support services to assist single parent families, and to transition them into long-term independent housing.

Key facts on homelessness

10,000 people are homeless in WA on any given night –

  • 40% are under the age of 25 yrs
  • 16% are under the age of 12 yrs
  • 56% are male; 44% are female

600-800 people sleep rough on the streets of Perth each night – around 25% are under the age of 18 yrs.

26,000 young people are homeless in Australia.

A young person with a mental illness is three times more likely to be homeless.

The three main causes of homelessness are:

  • domestic violence and relationship issues (40%)
  • financial difficulties
  • accommodation issues

Homelessness includes:

  • people sleeping rough on the street
  • sleeping in cars or in squats
  • sleeping in abandoned buildings or improvised dwellings
  • ‘couch surfing’
  • staying in emergency accommodation such as women and youth refuges
  • staying in inadequate accommodation considered below minimum standards by the community, such as boarding and lodging houses.