Homelessness Is Not Inclusive

According to insights compiled by the University of WA, Centre for Social Impact (CSI), the Northern area of the State has the highest rate in Australia for government-funded programmes, yet the number of persons experiencing homelessness that need to draw on these services has risen by a staggering 39 per cent, over the last five years.

Angela Kickett, Director at i24s who has worked with homeless people for decades says, “Unfortunately, the statistics are not heading in the right direction for anyone who is homeless. However, this is particularly bad news for some women as the level of vulnerability is higher than for men. From the research conducted by CSI, we know that women are younger than men when they become homeless, they have more serious physical and mental health problems, and are more likely to be victims of street violence.”

Data from CSI also indicates an overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the State. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise 29.1 per cent of the homeless population.

Did You Know?

Of the homeless respondents who contributed to the CSI research:

  • One-in-six are aged under 24 years
  • 62 per cent of males have an average age 40 years
  • 52 per cent sleep rough, seek shelter on the streets, in parks and/or in cars
  • 24 per cent rely on temporary accommodation, such as couch surfing or shelters
  • 69.5 per cent have suffered from depression, 63.2 with anxiety, 39.3 PTSD and 24.3 with psychosis;
  • 72 per cent problematic drug or alcohol use;
  • 56 per cent have been a victim of violent attack
  • 50 per cent have threatened to harm themselves or others
  • 35 per cent have engaged in risky and/or unlawful behaviour
  • 63.6 per cent interacted with the Police in the six months prior; and
  • 55.6 per cent had been imprisoned, at some point in their life.

Angela adds, “Among those needing assistance, Aboriginal people are burdened by a complicated mix of sad and very real circumstances that lead to homelessness including multi-generational trauma, domestic and lateral violence and substance abuse, to name a few.”

“We are working with the State government to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and in addition to that, we are also collaborating with industry leaders, like BGER, to provide additional assistance by way of essential day-to-day provisions. We are in desperate need of sleeping bags, bottled water and care packs for women and BGER is helping with those.”

As part of BGER’s commitment to improving inclusion and social equity in our communities, the Company has made a commitment to partner with i24s to provide 100 x sleeping bags, 100 x 24-pack of 600ml bottled water, and 100 x female care bags.

Craig Bloxham, Managing Director at BGER says, “When Angela approached us for support, we jumped at the opportunity to partner up. Homelessness is not a choice, and it can happen to any one of us. It’s a matter of very unfortunate circumstances and as a society, we all have a responsibility to contribute. Myself and my fellow Co-Founder, Tony Comerford, were humbled by the request.”

“Our teams put their heads together about how we could best make a difference and our commitment is three-fold. Our teams are ready to go and have set-up a production line to create the care packs, etc. We look forward to providing the essential supplies, and importantly to helping to raise awareness about this important societal challenge.”

IWD is a time for reflection and humanity. The theme for the IWD 2024 is #InspireInclusion.

Imagine the collective good that could be achieved if government, industry and others shifted our collective thinking to create a society in which we motivate others to recognise the importance of inclusion. A more equitable society where we inspire the most vulnerable women to foster a sense of self-worth, community and resilience? That’s what improving our individual and collective social impact is about.

If you would like further information about homelessness, please contact your respective State or Territory agency.

For further details about the vital services and support that i24s provides, contact Angela Kickett at admin@i24s.com.au or call +61 8 9209 2090.

For information about BGER, contact the Director, ESG at Kate.Hartness@bge-resources.com or call +61 8 6375 9100.

Sources: The University of Western Australia, Centre for Social Impact, Homelessness in WA 2022 Report; 2021 Census.

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