Learn about Homelessness

What is Homelessness?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states ‘that when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives’ they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

The ABS acknowledges that homelessness is not just a state of being without a ‘roof’ and includes people living in:

  • improvised dwellings (e.g., tents or sleeping rough)
  • supported accommodation, (e.g., homeless refuges)
  • a household temporarily, (e.g., couch surfing)
  • boarding houses
  • severely crowded dwellings.

The ABS estimates that nearly 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Western Australia, with 25% of that number sleeping rough. 

How does someone become homeless?

A person is considered at risk of homelessness if they are at risk of losing their accommodation. A range of risk factors or triggers can lead to homelessness. In the Town of Victoria Park key risk factors include:

  • High rates of housing stress 
  • Unemployment, underemployment, and insecure employment
  • People living with disability 
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Family separation
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity, as these community members are at a greater risk of becoming homeless than other population groups
  • Young people
  • Older people on income support in private rentals
  • Older women

Additional risk factors which may contribute to someone becoming homelessness include poor mental or physical health, substance abuse, leaving the care or justice system and/or previous experiences of homelessness.

Whole-of-Community Response

The WA State Government’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020-2030 recognises that ending homelessness requires a whole-of-community response. Different levels of government, the community services sector, businesses, and communities all have different but important roles to play.

To play an active role in ending homelessness the Town works collaboratively with all levels of government, local and regional community organisations and our neighbouring local governments. It is through working together that a coordinated and effective approach to ending homelessness in the local community and the greater inner-city region can be achieved.

To learn more, check out the link below. 

10-Year Strategy on Homelessness

Local Government’s Role

As the tier of government closest to the community, local governments are well positioned to be a central point of information and connector for the community and other levels of government. The Town aims to facilitate connections, advocate to other tiers of government, deliver awareness-raising and helpful resources, and partner with other stakeholders to meet the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

The Town has a homelessness policy and internal management practice to support cases of homelessness in a humanistic and respectful manner. The Town’s Homelessness Implementation Plan details the actions that will be undertaken by the Town to operationalise Policy 113 – Homelessness – The Town’s Role.

Policy 113 Homelessness - the Town's Role (08/09/2023)

Homelessness Implementation Plan

State and Federal Government’s Role

The State and Federal governments play a key role in ending homelessness through providing:

  • social housing
  • affordable or subsidised housing programs
  • crisis, short- and medium-term accommodation
  • funding of homelessness specialist services
  • welfare support, including income support
  • employment and training assistance
  • health and mental health services
  • services through the justice system, including the police, courts, and corrective services.

Collaboration & Outreach

The Town works closely with several key stakeholders including the Department of Communities and WA Police to provide holistic and supportive responses that work within the overall homelessness response throughout Perth. The Town actively works with the Department of Communities’ Homeless Engagement Assessment Response Team (HEART). The HEART team provides outreach and intensive support for chronic rough sleepers in collaboration with sector partners including; St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and Uniting WA.

The Town also contracts a community outreach service to patrol hotspot areas of the Town to provide appropriate assistance to those experiencing homelessness or hardship and connect them with appropriate services. For more information about the Town’s community outreach service, follow the link provided: Community Outreach Service

Anyone can become homeless. It is important to understand that being homeless is not a criminal offence; individuals without homes and those sleeping rough have the right to be in public spaces, as long as they are not acting in an anti-social manner. 

As the Town’s Albany Highway district has a high flow of foot traffic, some people choose to use the area to beg. Some people who beg may be homeless, while others may have access to stable accommodation but are from low-income households. Begging is not against the law. However, the Town works with service providers to assist people who beg into accessing services. 

Aggressive, intimidating, or violent behaviour is a criminal offence. The Town encourages all who witness this type of behaviour to contact the WA Police Force immediately on 131 444 or 000.

If you are concerned about a rough sleeper, you can contact the Town on:

Phone: 9311 8111
Email: admin@vicpark.wa.gov.au

Support Services

The Town’s Support Service Directories provide contact information for services supporting people’s basic needs in and around the Town. These highlight emergency relief, accommodation, financial, legal, rental, domestic violence, drug and alcohol, mental health and health supports available. If you would like some copies of the support service directory, please contact the Town. The Support Service Directory is also available on our website:

Support Services Directory

There are also specialist homelessness services provided by the Ruah Centre, Tranby Centre, and Passages Youth Centre from their locations in the City of Perth.

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