• Aunty Barbara Moore at a rally to urge action to prevent more homeless deaths in Perth. (NITV: Kearyn Cox)Source: NITV: Kearyn Cox
Meet the people impacted most by Perth's housing crisis, the city's homeless, who are dying on the streets.
By
Kearyn Cox

Source:
NITV News
30 Aug 2021 - 12:20 PM  UPDATED 30 Aug 2021 - 1:57 PM

Noongar women experiencing homelessness have come together to demand action, after more deaths on the city's streets.

Advocates said three Aboriginal woman have died in as many weeks in Perth’s epicentre, with 56 homeless people dying last year in total. 

They have blamed the deaths on the state's housing crisis and demanded WA Premier Mark McGowan take action.

Advocate Aunty Barbara Moore said nothing appeared to have changed after recent deaths.

“It saddens us to see as a community that our young women, mothers, sisters, cousins and grand-daughters are dying on the streets. Nothing has changed since the last two deaths," she told NITV News.

“What is wrong with the government? The government has to do something.

“The deaths of our people are still happening and it has to stop.”

Ceciely Knapp said she is homeless, and pregnant, and was close with many of the people who had died recently.

She said she relies on others to stay safe.

“I stick with my two brothers and we basically do everything together all the time," she said.

"We are together every day and every night.

"It’s really hard for us, we are forced to sleep during the day. It is scary.”

Noongar woman Vanessa Culbong is also currently homeless in Perth and said negotiating services was like "an obstacle course."

The lack of affordable housing was the biggest issue, she said, adding that police were a constant presence moving on members of the community.

"How can we deal with any of our social issues if we don’t have the foundation first - housing?" Ms Culbong said.

“Our human rights have been denied. We have been denied housing and water. I have had enough.”

“I am wondering how many people we’re going to lose before the changes are made to the policies that are holding us back and keeping us at the bottom of the food chain.”

The opposition's spokesman on housing, Steven Martin, called on the government to make a substantial investment to solve the homelessness crisis in the upcoming state budget.

"We quite simply have a tragedy unfolding on the streets of Perth," he said.

“I am calling on the government to admit that there is a crisis in housing and homelessness in Western Australia.

"The McGowan government has to make a serious commitment to solve this emerging crisis.

"The Premier's made much over keeping Western Australians safe over the past 18 months... when it comes to housing and homelessness, homelessness in particular, West Australians are dying, Premier."

 

 

There are currently 17,000 people on WA's public housing wait list.

The WA Government said in a statement to NITV it invests more than $100 million in services and programs for people experiencing homelessness each year, ranging from transitional accommodation, to health and mental health support, legal advice and advocacy.

It opened a new service to accommodate up to 100 people called Boorloo Bidee Mia.

Vigil spotlights WA homelessness crisis, as deaths top one per week
The vigil laid 56 sleeping bags on the steps of WA's parliament house, representing the lives lost on the state's streets last year.