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Everybody needs a home is the theme for 2021 Homelessness Week.

This week is about raising awareness by continuing the conversation on the issues surrounding homelessness and finding long term solutions for the more than 9,000 Western Australians who experience homelessness every night.

Homelessness is a reality, it can happen to anyone, it doesn’t discriminate – it can be just a change of circumstances that can be a catalyst. Vinnies WA continues its support and work focused on responding to Western Australians at the risk of or experiencing homelessness as we continue to experience impact from COVID-19, a lack of social housing and the demand for our services increase. Over 4,100* people access specialist homelessness services every in Western Australian and Vinnies WA is committed to providing homelessness services and programs that can reduce the risk and impact of homelessness in the community for our most excluded and marginalised people.

“The lack of social housing continues to be a challenge when addressing the issues around homelessness in WA and quite simply, for social housing to make a difference we just need more of it. We heard at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout that the Government is committed to reducing the priority waitlist which is sitting around 17,000* people which is really encouraging.” says Chrissie Smith, Executive Manager Vinnies Specialist Community Services.

“However it’s people like you and me, just one life event away from a devastating change in circumstances – illness including mental ill health, relationship breakdown, loss of a spouse, domestic violence, or the loss of a job. In general older people who do not own their own home, women and children affected by domestic violence and Youth who are increasingly faced with a lack of housing options are particularly vulnerable.”

“We know at Vinnies that when people have a place to call home, it can improve many other aspects of their lives including their health, mental well-being, employment, education and long-term housing needs. Support through any one of ours services such as Housing, Homelessness and even Emergency Assistance, helps people experiencing or at risk of homelessness access practical support and their ability to engage with agencies and services, allowing people to build their potential to move forward in their life.”

Passages Youth Engagement Hubs were established as a unique specialist engagement service more than 20 years ago as a result of the growing rate of youth homelessness, which today, sees children and young people account for 21%* of all Western Australians experiencing homelessness. The two Hub locations in Perth and Mandurah, along with Vinnies adult homelessness service, Tom Fisher House, will be acknowledging Homelessness Week with a series of events and activities aimed at increasing social inclusion and improving their immediate wellbeing for individuals experiencing homelessness.

 Homelessness Week runs from 1st – 7th August. You can support and continue the conversation around homelessness during the week using #HOMELESSNESWEEK21 and view the Vinnies WA Facebook.