City welcomes partnership to tackle homelessness in Fremantle

City of Fremantle

5th August 2019.

Please see below press release from the City of Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle has welcomed today’s announcement of a partnership between state and local government, the private sector and community service providers to address rough sleeping in Fremantle.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt joined Community Services Minister and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, Sirona Capital Managing Director Matthew McNeilly and other key stakeholders in Fremantle today to launch the 20 Lives 20 Homes campaign.

20 Lives 20 Homes is two-year initiative which will provide housing and wrap-around support to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Fremantle.

It is based on the 50 Lives 50 Homes collective impact project, which has successfully housed more than 147 rough sleepers in Perth over the past three years.

The program will be coordinated by Ruah Community Services in conjunction with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Fremantle Foundation and the City of Fremantle.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly has driven private sector support for the program, raising almost $1 million from a small number of individuals with strong Fremantle connections.

The state government is contributing a further $395,000 over two years, while the City of Fremantle has committed $40,000 this year with a further $40,000 proposed for next year.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said the program was an important step towards addressing homelessness in Fremantle.

“It’s wonderful to see this this partnership, not just between the state and local government, but one anchored around an extraordinarily generous contribution from the private sector with connections to Fremantle,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“This commitment to solve rough sleeping, rather than just manage it, is potentially a game changer on an issue that has sadly become more prevalent in many communities.

“I look forward to seeing some of the most vulnerable people in Fremantle being given a home and the support they need to get their lives back together.”

Mr McNeilly said the plight of homeless people in Fremantle hit home when the Kings Square Renewal project was about to commence.

“At the point Sirona was about to turn Kings Square into a construction site, I realised the redevelopment would displace a significant number of people who were using the doorways and vacant shops of the old Myer and Queensgate buildings for shelter,” Mr McNeilly said.

“I didn’t want anyone to be negatively impacted by the redevelopment, particularly the people sleeping rough.

“I remember overhearing a local business owner’s disparaging comment about a homeless person, saying that someone should do something about these people. The reality is it takes multiple ‘someones’, hence this initiative.”

Ruah Community Services Chief Executive Debra Zanella said 20 Lives 20 Homes would deliver a person-centred approach that links people to accommodation and support services that can address personal circumstances.

“We are privileged to be invited to deliver this targeted program to Fremantle, in partnership with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, the state government, the City and the private sector,” Ms Zanella said.

“We believe the success of the 50 Lives 50 Homes program is proof that ending rough sleeping in WA is achievable, as we work toward tackling the much broader and complex issue of homelessness.”

Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said the state government was proud to support a program that would make a difference for people sleeping rough in Fremantle.

“The 20 Lives 20 Homes program takes a housing-first approach and will help people experiencing homelessness get a roof over their head, which is an important first step, but it will also connect them with the support services that can get them out of homelessness permanently,” Ms McGurk said.